High Court Avoids New Same-Sex Marriage Case
Monday June 17, 2019 | 9:27 a.m.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court overturns an Oregon court ruling against bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Judges’ action on Monday keeps the high-profile case off the court’s election year calendar and orders state judges to take a fresh look at the dispute between the lesbian couple and the owners of a bakery now closed in the Portland area.
The brief High Court order directs Oregon appeals judges to review the Supreme Court’s last-term ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who would not bake a cake for a same-sex marriage. The court ruled that baker Jack Phillips was subjected to anti-religious bias in the Colorado Civil Rights Commission determination that it violated the state’s anti-discrimination by refusing to bake the couple’s wedding cake. The Oregon Appeal Decision came before the court ruling in the Phillips case.
The broader issue of weighing the rights of LGBT people against the religious objections of traders remains unresolved. Another dispute involving a Washington state florist who fails to create flower arrangements for a same-sex marriage is being taken to the Supreme Court.
The Oregon case had been in Supreme Court limbo for months, sometimes signaling behind-the-scenes negotiations over what to do. The case involves bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein, who paid the couple a judgment of $ 135,000 for refusing to create a cake for them in 2013.
The dispute started when Rachel Bowman-Cryer went to the bakery with her mother in January 2013. They met Aaron Klein, who asked for the date of the ceremony and the names of the bride and groom.
When told there was no groom, Klein said he was sorry but the bakery didn’t bake cakes for same-sex weddings. According to case documents, Rachel and her mother left the store, but returned shortly thereafter. As Rachel remained in the car, in tears, her mother walked in to speak with Klein.
The mother told Klein that she had once thought like him, but that her “truth had changed” when she had two gay children. Klein responded by quoting Leviticus: “You shall not sleep with a man as one sleeps with a woman; it is an abomination.
The judges have already agreed to decide in their election year session whether the federal civil rights law protects people from discrimination in employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.