What is the case about?
In 2013, a lesbian couple went Sweet Cakes, a bakery in Oregon, to order a “wedding cake” for their same-sex commitment ceremony. When the couple told the baker, Aaron Klein that it was for a same-sex ceremony, he told them he would serve homosexual but that his religious beliefs would not allow him to participate by creating the cake for them. The couple filed a complaint with the Oregon Labor Commission, claiming Sweet Cakes and the Kleins discriminated against them because of their sexual orientation.
Last week, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.
“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation,” said Avakian, a political appointee. In his ruling he notes he finds “no distinction” between refusing to serve a same-sex wedding and discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation.
“[Aaron Klein] denied the full and equal accommodation, advantages, facilities and privileges of Sweet Cakes by Melissa to Complainants based on their sexual orientation thereby violating ORS 659A.403,” claims the ruling.
How much were the Kleins ordered to pay the couple?
The Commissioner awarded the lesbian couple $135,000 ($75,000 for one, $80,000 for the other) in “damages for emotional and mental suffering resulting from the denial of service.”
What were the claims of emotional and mental suffering?