The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein through an appeal from Oregan state courts by First Liberty Institute on their behalf.
The Kleins were fined $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex “wedding,” a ceremony that went against their strongly held religious beliefs. The steep fine forced the Kleins to shut down their business, Sweet Cakes, and a gag order initially prevented them from sharing their beliefs about marriage in public, although that aspect of the original order was overturned by the Oregon Court of Appeals.
The Kleins are hoping that a more conservative Supreme Court will take their case and build on the decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop case by explicitly ruling that religious expression is protected by the First Amendment. As Kelly Schackelford of First Liberty Institute says, “This case can clarify whether speech is truly free if it is government mandated.”
SCOTUS could decide whether or not to accept the case as early as Monday. If they do, the Kleins no doubt hope the majority will pick up on the sentiment expressed by Justice Neil Gorsuch in his concurring opinion in Masterpiece: “It is in protecting unpopular religious beliefs that we prove this country’s commitment to serving as a refuge for religious freedom.”
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