Today, First Liberty Institute announced that, along with one of the most famous lawyers in America, it is now representing Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa—the bakery destroyed by the Oregon government because its Christian owners declined to bake a wedding cake celebrating same-sex marriage—and intends to take the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
In 2013, the Kleins were asked by a lesbian woman to bake a cake celebrating her marriage to another woman, even though same-sex marriage was not even legal in Oregon at the time.
The Kleins had many customers who are homosexual and were happy to sell them cakes and other baked goods, but do not make specialized cakes for same-sex weddings because they individualize each wedding cake to support and celebrate the marriage. The Kleins are Evangelical Christians who believe that marriage is only between a man and woman, and who run their business consistent with their faith as part of their Christian testimony and personal ministry to the community.
The Oregon government pursued the Kleins for two years. On July 2, 2015, Commissioner Brad Avakian, the head of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 to the women as a penalty for what he called the “emotional damages” of offending the women by declining to bake the cake for their non-legal “wedding.”