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LGBTQ Nation: Christian bakers’ case sent back to lower court in light of anti-LGBTQ+ Supreme Court ruling


The Supreme Court ordered an anti-LGBTQ+ bakery’s case to be sent back to a lower court after it ruled that creative professionals can sometimes break anti-discrimination laws.

The case, Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, involves Melissa and Aaron Klein’s bakery, Sweetcakes by Melissa. In 2013, one of the women in a lesbian couple went with her mother for a cake-tasting for her wedding at Sweetcakes, and Aaron Klein asked for the names of the “bride and groom.” When the woman told him that she was marrying another woman, he told her that he couldn’t sell her a wedding cake because of his and Melissa’s religious beliefs. When the woman’s mother responded, Klein quoted Leviticus and told the women that homosexuality is an abomination.

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The lesbian couple filed a complaint with the state of Oregon for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and two years later a court ruled in their favor and fined Sweetcakes $135,000, which was later reduced to $30,000. The Kleins posted the personal information of the lesbian couple online – leading to them receiving “several thousand Facebook messages calling us fat, evil, and dumb” and so many violent phone calls and emails that they had to move for their own safety.

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The Kleins, meanwhile, raised over $600,000 from an online crowdfunding campaign.

After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-LGBTQ+ web designer Lorie Smith this past Friday in 303 Creative, LLC. v. Elenis, it sent the Kleins’ case back to the Oregon Court of Appeals for review, the anti-LGBTQ+ organization First Liberty Institute said in a statement.

“It’s a win when the Supreme Court vacates a bad lower court decision like it did for Aaron and Melissa … but the case is not over,” First Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackleford told the Christian Post.

“The Kleins have been fighting for the First Amendment for over a decade and we will stand with them no matter how long it takes to get the victory they deserve.”

In 2016, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, the lesbian couple who were refused service because of their identity, spoke out about the harassment they faced at the hands of the Kleins and their rightwing supporters.

“We stopped leaving the house, opening messages, and picking up the phone, and we even quit our jobs to try to keep our family safe from the outpouring of vitriolic attention that came from the case,” they wrote in a column. “Retreating didn’t make a difference, and as we remained secluded and silent the fury over the case just grew. The right wing’s backlash increased as the freedom to marry became the law of the land, fueling the ‘religious freedom’ movement.”

“At every step of the way, we have felt guilt and humiliation at seeing our name used by the right to justify discrimination. Our family has been caught in the middle. The human cost to this battle is real to us because we are living it.”

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