The owners of a U.S bakery have reportedly been ordered to pay a lesbian couple $135,000 (£86,000) in damages after they refused to make them a same-sex wedding cake.
‘Sweetcakes By Melissa’ owners Melissa and Aaron Klein were found guilty of discrimination in a preliminary hearing earlier this year, and they must now pay damages to the couple involved “for emotional and mental suffering resulting from the denial of service”.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited under Oregon law.
A ruling by Oregon’s Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian reportedly said:
This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’ refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal. Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society. The ability to enter public places, to shop, to dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry.
Melissa and Aaron Klein reacted to the ruling in a Facebook statement, claiming the decision was an attack on their freedom of speech.
A lawyer representing the Kleins said his clients are likely to appeal the decision, as the fine could put them “out on the street”.