An Oregon appeals court has upheld a brutal fine against a Christian couple who declined to decorate a "wedding" cake for a same-sex union ceremony because of their Biblical religious convictions.
The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed last week that Aaron and Melissa Klein violated the state's law prohibiting discrimination based on "sexual orientation."
In so doing, the appeals court judges let stand a decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries that the Kleins pay an outrageous penalty of $135,000 in damages to the homosexual couple.
Aaron and Melissa Klein have operated a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, known as Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They were approached in 2013 to provide a decorated "wedding" cake for a reception celebrating the "commitment ceremony" of two lesbian women.
The Kleins informed the "couple" that they could not bake and decorate a cake for such an occasion, because it violated their deeply held religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
The two women then filed a complaint with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries, arguing that the Kleins were in violation of a state statute banning discrimination in "public accommodations."
Leaders in the homosexual rights movement launched a smear campaign against the Kleins, organizing a boycott against their business and their suppliers. The hate campaign was so vile and vicious that Aaron and Melissa chose to close their storefront retail shop.
The Chairman of the State Labor Board, Brad Avakian, found the Kleins guilty and imposed the egregious $135,000 fine. It was later learned that Avakian is himself a homosexual rights activist, and that he collaborated with "gay rights" leaders in the conduct of the case.
The appeals court ruled that the Kleins failed to prove that the state "targeted them for enforcement because of their religious beliefs," and that the fine was reasonable considering the "emotional distress" experienced by the lesbian women.
The Kleins were represented in court by the First Liberty Institute. President Kelly Shackelford said that the judges had decided that Aaron and Melissa "were not entitled to the Constitution's promises of religious liberty and free speech."
Aaron Klein's response to the appeals court ruling was short and to the point: "Man's court is going to do what man's court is going to do. But we will just continue to seek to serve the Lord."
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon be issuing a landmark decision in a similar case involving a Denver-area bakery known as Masterpiece Cakeshop.
Owner Jack Phillips was also found guilty of "sexual orientation" discrimination for declining to furnish a decorated cake for a same-sex union ceremony. Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in the case last month and are expected to issue their ruling by summer.