Two Oregon Christian bakers tried to appeal a judge’s ruling that forced them to pay $135,000 to a gay couple Thursday.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, the co-owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, must pay the money after refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, reports the Daily Signal. The couple pleaded for an appeal before the Oregon Court of Appeals.
“But now we’re finally in a courtroom where the Constitution and due process can be argued on a level we haven’t seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome,” Aaron Klein said.
The Klein’s attorney argued that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Bureau of Labor and Industries broke federal law by telling the Kleins to pay money to the lesbian couple.
Their attorney also asserted that the state violated the Klein’s right to free speech, religious freedom and due process.
“The law cannot compel an architect to design a church,” said Adam Gustafson, an attorney for the Kleins. “It cannot compel a rabbi to marry a Christian and a Jew.”
The case started four years ago when Rachel Bowman-Cryer came to the shop to taste cakes with her mother for her upcoming lesbian wedding. Aaron Klein refused to bake a cake for her wedding, though Bowman-Cryer had previously purchased a cake from the shop.
Bowman-Cryer and her wife filed a complaint against the bakery shop and a judge ruled in their favor. The judge said the Kleins broke an Oregon law that prevents places that cater to the public from discriminating against gay people.
Should the Kleins win their appeal, they could help create a religious exemption.
“The government should never force someone to violate their conscience or their beliefs,” Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, said in a statement.