The U.S. Supreme Court last June reversed an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling against a Christian couple and ordered the court to review the case in light of a similar religious freedom case.
The government fined Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes, $135,000 in damages for declining to bake a “wedding” cake for two women and possibly for quoting the Bible.
In a similar case involving another Christian baker, Jack Phillips, the high court ruled in his favor, contending that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission treated him unfairly and his religious beliefs with contempt when it declared that he’d discriminated against two men who wanted him to make a custom cake for their “wedding.”
The Daily Signal reported on what’s happening in the couple’s case (emphasis added):
Did Oregon officials violate their duty to remain neutral on matters of religion when they ordered Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 for declining to create a custom same-sex wedding cake, a move that crushed the small, family-owned business?
That’s the question that the Oregon Court of Appeals will answer after having heard oral argument last week in the case of Melissa Klein v. Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Did the former commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries act with hostility toward the couple’s religious beliefs, as was the case with Phillips?
They [the couple’s legal counsel] argued that the Oregon bureau demonstrated anti-religious hostility in several ways, including awarding “emotional damages” based upon the quotation of a Bible verse, awarding an amount of damages that exceeds cases involving physical violence or sexual harassment, and making public statements demonstrating that the commissioner prejudged the case before hearing the evidence.
Finally, the Kleins’ attorneys argued that the bureau’s commissioner, who was supposed to be acting as a neutral judge in the case, made public statements indicating that he prejudged the case before hearing any of the evidence.