(CBS Local) — A $135,000 fine against an Oregon bakery who refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple has been upheld by the state’s Court of Appeals.
Melissa and Aaron Klein refused to bake the cake for Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her wife in 2013 because of their religious objections to same-sex marriage. After taking the fight to court, a judge ruled that “Sweet Cakes By Melissa” discriminated against the couple and ordered the bakery to pay for Bowman-Cryer’s emotional damages.
In addition to the financial toll of the decision, the Kleins say the backlash on social media and in the LBGT community forced them to close their online business. “We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build,” Melissa Klein said, via KUTV. “I loved my shop. It meant everything to me and losing it has been so hard for me and my family.”
The $135,000 was already been paid by Sweet Cakes but the money has been held by the state until Oregon’s appeals court made their ruling. “All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally,” Bowman and Cryer said in a statement.
The Kleins continue to argue the ruling goes against the country’s stance on religious expression. “What’s unfortunate here is that a family and their business has been punished because of their religious beliefs. And that’s not America,” attorney Mike Berry added.
The bakers are reportedly still considering taking the case to the Oregon Supreme Court. On Dec. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake of a gay couple because of his religious beliefs. A ruling, which will likely set the legal precedent for similar cases, is expected to be delivered in the summer of 2018.