Testimony underway to determine damages in bakery discrimination case

The former brick and mortar Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery.

The former brick and mortar Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery.

TUALATIN, Ore. — A judge is hearing testimony regarding damages in the case of two Oregon bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013.

Sweet-CakesLawyers for both sides began making their cases Tuesday during the first day of a hearing that may extend into Thursday.

Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough earlier rejected the bakers’ contention that the state’s discrimination laws violate their religious freedom.

He found that Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, unlawfully discriminated against the same-sex couple by denying them full and equal access to a place of public accommodation.

The controversy began when Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman went to the Sweet Cakes shop seeking a wedding cake. When they learned there were two brides, the Kleins refused to make a cake.

The Kleins have since closed the shop and moved their business to their home.

Article continues below

The Oregonian reports that state Labor and Industries investigators have recommended $75,000 each for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

Now married, Rachel Bowman-Cryer testified Tuesday about the emotional stress she says she experienced due to the service refusal and the media coverage that followed.

McCullough will take the case under advisement before making a recommendation to state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

This Story Filed Under