Oregon court denies appeal by Sweet Cakes owners who refused to serve lesbian couple

Aaron and Melissa Klein (File photo by KATU News)

The Oregon Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Aaron and Melissa Klein against Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

The Kleins owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa and were found to have discriminated against Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer when they refused to make a cake for the couple in February of 2013.

The Court of Appeals announced its decision in December of 2017 to uphold a $135,000 fine issued to the bakery owners.

The Kleins ended up closing the store several months after the incident due to backlash, but continued their business from home with the help of online donations.

Eventually, 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 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.

In a statement, the Bowman-Cryers applauded the court ruling saying, "All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally. Oregon will not allow a 'Straight Couples Only' sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores."

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