"Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution's promises of religious liberty and free speech", First Liberty CEO Kelly Shackelford stated.
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the case of a Colorado baker who claims his First Amendment freedoms allow him to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Furthermore, the judges found that the Kleins intentionally inflicted emotional harm on the Bowman-Pryors by sharing their address and contact information online and urging Christians to bombard the couple with hate mail and try to have their children taken away.
The Kleins appealed the decision in March 2017, arguing the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries violated their rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.
The court did reverse one decision that said bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein violated state law by communicating their intent to discriminate against gay couples in the future, according to KGW-TV.
The Oregonian reports, "in their ruling Thursday, a panel of state appeals court judges sided with [state labor commissioner Brad] Avakian, saying the Kleins did, in fact, deny the Bowman-Cryers because they were lesbians".
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Under Oregon law, businesses can not refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they can not turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion.
Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer applauded the ruling through a statement released by their attorney. All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally.
Nancy Marcus, an attorney with LGBTQ legal and civil rights group Lambda Legal, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, said the ruling "is both critically important and completely unsurprising". The Kleins have directed us to no evidence whatsoever that ORS 659A.403 was enacted for the objective of singling out religiously motivated action, or that BOLI has selectively targeted religion in its enforcement of the statute. "In Oregon, businesses that are open to the public are open to all", they said.
"Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others", Mr. Shackelford said in a statement.
The case will likely now be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.