If you live in Oregon, apparently it will cost you $135,000 to exercise your constitutionally enshrined freedom of religion – at least that was the lesson handed down by a three-judge panel from the Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday, when it upheld a massive penalty against a pair of bakers who declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding back in 2013.
From The Daily Signal:
The husband-and-wife team of Aaron and Melissa Klein — who have already had to close their bakery due to a boycott — will now have to pay a $135,000 fine levied by a state agency.
The three-judge panel found that baking a cake did not count as “speech, art, or other expression” which would have been protected by the First Amendment.
Instead, the court found that the request to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony did not “impermissibly burden the Kleins’ right to the free exercise of religion” since they would only have to comply with “a neutral law of general applicability.”
The case has been the subject of much controversy after the Kleins refused to bake a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, a lesbian couple, citing their Christian beliefs that marriage was between one man and one woman,
“We are very disappointed in the court’s decision,” said Michael Berry, deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty nonprofit that represents the Kleins.
“I think that punishing people for their religious beliefs is … not American, and it’s wrong.”
Do you think that bakery had the right to refuse service based on their own religious beliefs, or was the court right in awarding this money to the gay couple who requested the cake?