Sweet Cakes by Melissa finally got their day in court. The Oregon bakery was owned by Aaron and Melissa Klein, a devout Christian couple. Their problems began about four years ago, when a woman asked the Kleins to create a special wedding cake for her daughter, who was planning to marry her lesbian partner. The Kleins declined, saying that as Christians, they could not prepare a special cake celebrating gay marriage. The lesbian couple then filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Administrative hearings were held, and they went against the Kleins. They were forced to pay a $135,000 fine that resulted in them closing their shop. They were also given a gag order, preventing them from discussing certain aspects of the case, including their religious opposition to gay marriage. But the Kleins refused to stop fighting even though they lost their business. With the help of the First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the country dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom, they were able to move their case away from an administrative organization and into the court system. Their case was finally heard before a judicial body, the Oregon Court of Appeals, earlier this month. Guest Jeremy Dys, senior attorney with the First Liberty Institute, discusses this case.
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