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Court upholds $135,000 fine for Christian couple who refused to bake a cake

Conservative Review

They refused to bake a cake. They were sued. Their business was forced to close. And now the Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld a decision to force the former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa to pay a whopping $135,000 fine.

In 2013, citing their Christian beliefs regarding gay marriage, Aaron and Melissa Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries claimed the bakers had violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 and ordered the couple to pay $135,000 in damages for emotional distress.

The Kleins appealed the fine, arguing that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian violated state and federal laws by targeting them for their Christian beliefs and violated their rights to religious freedom, due process, and free speech.

The appellate court ruled Thursday that Avakian did not target them for their religious beliefs and that statements he had made before deciding the case did not show a lack of impartiality, the Seattle Times reports. The court ruled that it is insufficient to assert that the Kleins' cakes are art protected under the First Amendment.

Earlier this year, Melissa Klein told CBN News, "My cakes were my canvas. I sketched and custom designed each cake to fit each couple perfectly."

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