Judge upholds $135,000 fine for Christian bakery who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple

The Oregon Court of Appeals decided Thursday to uphold the $135,000 fine issued to the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

The couple who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013 must pay a fine of $135,000, according to a ruling by an Oregon Court of Appeals judge this Thursday.

According to a local CBS affiliateAaron and Melissa Klein closed their cake shop Sweet Cakes by Melissa in October 2016, and appealed the fine to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in March, arguing that it violated their “rights as artists to free speech, their rights as Oregonians to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.”

Although the couple paid the fine in 2015, the state was holding on to the money while the appeals were settled. The story made national headlines when the couple cited their religious beliefs as the reason for refusing to make the cake.

As RawStory points out, the ruling also found that the Kleins “intentionally inflicted emotional harm” on the same same-sex couple, Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Pryor, by sharing their personal information on Aaron Klein’s Facebook page, which resulted in death threats and harassment.

Speaking to The Oregonian back in 2015, Rachel Bowman-Cryer said that she and her wife felt an additional threat because they’re foster parents and feared they might lose the children.

During cross-examination, lawyers for the Kleins suggested that the Bowman-Cryers themselves ignited the media coverage by filing complaints with the state. Their point in doing so was to argue that any pain and suffering sustained by the women was due to their own or others’ actions rather than their clients’.

“Isn’t the real reason you felt stress after the media firestorm was that the state threatened to take away your kids,” attorney Tyler Smith asked.

“That was part of the reason for our stress,” Rachel Bowman-Cryer answered. “They told us it was our responsibility to protect them and keep them out of the public eye.”

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