US Supreme Court Sends Lesbian Wedding Cake Dispute Back to Lower Court

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lower court ruling against the owners of an Oregon bakery who refused based on their Christian beliefs to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in another case pitting gay rights against religious rights.

The justices sent the case back to the Oregon Court of Appeals so it can take a second look at its ruling against the bakery owners in light of the Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling in a strikingly similar case from Colorado.

In December 2017 – before the Supreme Court decision last year in favor of a Denver-area Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple – the Oregon court had let stand a lower state court ruling against Melissa and Aaron Klein.

They ran a bakery called Sweetcakes by Melissa in Gresham, a city just east of Portland, and were contesting Oregon’s a $135,000 penalty for violating a state anti-discrimination law by spurning the couple, Rachel Bowman-Cryer and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.

The Kleins argued that the state fine violated the their rights of free speech and free exercise of religion under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

In the narrow ruling last year, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for two men, citing his Christian faith.

But that ruling left major legal questions unresolved that the court could have decided if it had taken up the Oregon case.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Responses

  1. Should I ever be fortunate enough to meet that special someone I would want every aspect of my special day to be an expression of joy and love, even as far as the actual baking of the cake. So why on this green earth would I want even a smidge of negativity ( in this case the baker’s) associated with my joy.

    I am a lesbian and I completely stand by the Klein’s position. Would it be a disappointment to not have my first choice of cake, sure, but would the stress of a lawsuit be worth ruining what should be one of, if not the, most important day of my life: NO.

    I will say that to me, these suits strike more as exercises in narcissism than any true desire for equality. True equality means dealing with the fact that not everything in life goes your way, not because your gay but simply because you do not exist in a vacuum and must deal with others daily.

    1. If i were to think about the immediate future only, then i would agree. However, in the grand scheme i think discrimination for something like this is generally worth pushing to end. It’s less about getting their cake and more about people being able to throw them out of their business based on their sexual preference.

      I guess I always think of sexual prefrrence akin to race (though you can tell me if you disagree with that) – if it is wrong for someone to be able to deny service to someone because of race then its wrong to deny for sexual preference. In the past, religion had often been cited as a means to discriminate on race as well.

      To me, if they are serving divorced couples or couples like my husband and I who are married, but not in any religous capacity then they can serve same sex couples without much of a stretch to their poor sensitive souls.

      1. But on that same note, so could the couple look for another baker without it being a stretch to THEIR poor sensitive souls. I don’t think it’s fair to cast aside someone’s religious beliefs because you personally think they are being sensitive. I would bake anything for anyone save for the fact I cannot bake but I don’t think we can push for “fairness” to some while being unfair to others.

        1. Your statements are fair, but you haven’t argued any of my points.

          1. This isn’t just bakeries. What is to stop an electrician or doctor or anyone else from denying service because of their religion. You’re applying a small view to a big picture. Its not about the cake.

          2. Religion is often used as a blanket to discriminate. My argument is if you are serving those who also go against your religion then you aren’t really denying on relgious grounds. My examples were serving divorced couples or couples not married in a religion.

          3. Churches and relgious organizations aside – just as a business cannot refuse service over race, i do not think it is right to refuse service over sexual preference.

      2. Is the real prejudice here the act of searching for a baker who has a sincere belief that true marriage is only between a man and a woman so you can sue them out of business? Perhaps there are other bakers who would want your business and would joyfully create the cake wanted. There is nothing in the US Constitution that gives anyone the right to force you to do something which violates your own personal code. The baker didn’t prevent them from getting married, he simply said “I don’t want to be a part of it.” Sometimes the answer “No, I don’t want to do that” is simply the answer “no”.

    2. That is exactly what I would have commented if I could form sentences full of intelligence and forethought rather than feelings and eye rolling emojis. ?

    3. Morte, you are a smart lady. If someone does not want to bake a cake for you FOR ANY REASON, move on to another bakery. If a baker does not wish to make money, that is THEIR issue not yours. To eliminate the situation for bakers AND customers, bakeries should post a sign IF they only serve wedding cakes for heterosexual couples. I am heterosexual. But if I saw the sign, I too would move on without spending a dime in that establishment. I am a life long Methodist and have never been taught that discrimination of any kind was in adherence with the teachings of Jesus.

      1. Makes sense to me. Here in certain parts of the city the bakeries post signs as to their level of kosher compliance so why not.

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