Court upholds $135,000 fine for bakery owners who refused to make cake for gay couple

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The Court of Appeals announced its decision Thursday to uphold a $135,000 fine issued to bakery owners who refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple.

Melissa and Aaron Klein had refused to bake a cake Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her wife, Laurel back in February 2013.

They ended up closing the store several months later due to backlash, but continued the business from home with the help of online donations.

Melissa Klein ended her online business as well.

“We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build,” said Melissa Klein. “I loved my shop. It meant everything to me and losing it has been so hard for me and my family.”

The state ruled Sweet Cakes had discriminated against the lesbian couple, and in July 2015, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered the Kleins pay $135,000 for emotional damages suffered.

The Kleins have already paid the $135,000 in damages, but that money was held in a government escrow pending the appeal court’s decision.

The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 says businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation – just as they cannot turn away customers because of their race, sex, disability, age, or religion.

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