First Liberty Institute asks state high court to overturn
ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein
Salem, Ore. – Today, attorneys with First Liberty Institute and Boyden Gray & Associates filed an appeal at the Oregon Supreme Court in the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The Oregon Court of Appeals late last year ruled against the Kleins, upholding a decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that resulted in a $135,000 penalty, forcing the Kleins to close their family-run bakery.
“Aaron and Melissa Klein are entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free expression,” Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, says. “As Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy said during recent oral arguments on a similar case, ‘Tolerance is essential in a free society, and tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual.’ Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others.”
Since this case began, the Kleins – and those with whom they used to do business – have been targeted with hate mail, harassment and threats. That, along with the government’s massive financial penalty, forced them to close their business.
Watch the video outlining the harassment the Kleins have received.
“Popular ideas are not in great danger of being suppressed or silenced,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty. “The true test of our commitment to freedom is when we welcome disagreement and live peaceably as neighbors anyway. In its ruling, the Oregon Court of Appeals undermined America’s promise of protection even for those forms of expression which may be unpopular.”
First Liberty Institute, a national religious freedom law firm, represents the Kleins in their appeal along with C. Boyden Gray who served as White House Counsel to President George H. W. Bush.
Read more about the Kleins’ case at KleinFacts.com.
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First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.