Oregon baker ordered to pay $135,000 in damages to lesbian couple they refused
An Oregon bakery is being ordered to pay damages of $135,000 to a lesbian couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake, Oregon Live reports.
The ruling by the Oregon Labor Commission upheld a previous finding that Sweet Cakes by Melissa had discriminated against the couple based on their sexual orientation, Oregon Live reports.
“Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion,” the Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a press release.
The bakery owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein, were ordered to pay Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer $75,000 and $60,000 each, respectively.
The bakery became something of a cause celebre for anti-gay activists and after shuttering in 2013 continued to deliver cakes as an online service. They sent their baked goods to “ex-gay” organization The Restored Hope Network, Raw Story previously reported.
While the Klein’s can still appeal the order, the decision lays to rest a long-running fight that began in 2013 when the Bowman-Cryers sought a cake tasting from the bakery, only to be told that the business does not serve same-sex couples.
“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal,” the Bureau wrote.
The final ruling this week upheld a preliminary finding from March. An attorney for the Kleins told Oregon Live that an appeal is likely.