These cases aren't really about cakes

These cases aren't really about cakes

These cases aren't really about cakes

Attorneys hope a recent Supreme Court decision will set things straight for the Christian business owners they represent.

In Oregon, Stephanie Taub of First Liberty Institute says the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, is again before the Oregon Court of Appeals.

This time the U.S. Supreme Court sent it directly back there for reconsideration in light of its ruling in the 303 Creative case that Colorado could not misuse its laws and force the wedding website designer to create expression that violates her deepest convictions.

Boyden Gray PLLC is also representing the Kleins, who were forced out of business following fines imposed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) after the couple declined to design a cake for a homosexual wedding.

Taub says the government cannot force artists to create custom art that sends a message that goes against their beliefs; "This is squarely in line with the 303 Creative decision."

Taub, Stephanie (First Liberty) Taub

"So, here, the Kleins are in the custom wedding cake business. They will serve anyone, but there are some messages that they simply can't send," the attorney relays. "The First Amendment provides important protections not just for the Kleins and for people with their religious beliefs, but really for everyone, regardless of your perspective, to not be forced to send a message that goes against your beliefs."

Taub says there is a backlog, so it is difficult to determine when the Oregon Court of Appeals will rule in the case.

Whether it takes months or years, she says, "We are hopeful that this decision will be the right decision and we will get full justice for the Kleins."

A fellow baker in Bakersfield, California is in a similar predicament that began when a same-sex couple ignored all the cake designers in town who would have happily served them and insisted that Cathy Miller, the Christian owner of Tastries, make their wedding cake.

Paul Jonna of Thomas More Society says a complaint was filed to the state, which automatically opened up a discrimination case.

"The California Civil Rights Division didn't ask Cathy any questions, just immediately initiated an action against her, sought injunctive relief," Jonna reports.

Jonna, Paul (Thomas More Society) Jonna

A lower California court completely exonerated Miller and even awarded the baker and her lawyers a significant sum of money. But Jonna says the state appears adamant that Miller be docked for her faith.

"We've seen this before," he notes. "This is not new. The state will continue with their political attacks on people who disagree with them until they're forced to put an end to it."

In his view, this was never about a cake or a wedding.

"What's driving this is a broader issue we're seeing in our country," he submits. "It's not enough that the LGBT community has certain rights, but they, it seems, won't be content unless they force people of faith to sort of express their approval of what they're doing."

Like the Kleins, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Lorie Smith of 303 Creative, and a handful of other Christian professionals, Jonna says Miller is displaying incredible bravery for staying in the fight.

"Not everyone's called to that level of heroism, but it is pretty remarkable, and it's an honor to represent her and people like her," the Thomas More attorney asserts.