Monday, April 27, 2015

Proposed Order On Damages Issued Against Oregon Bakery That Refused Same-Sex-Wedding Cake

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced last Friday that an Administrative Law Judge has issued a Proposed Order relating to damages to be paid by the owners of an Oregon bakery (Sweet Cakes by Melissa).  Aaron Klein, a co-owner of the bakery, was previously found to have violated the Oregon Equality Act by refusing on religious grounds to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. (See prior posting.) The 111-page Proposed Findings, Conclusions, Opinion and Order issued April 21 (full text) proposes an award of compensatory damages for emotional suffering of $135,000, to be apportioned $75,000 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer and $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer (who was not present at the cake refusal).  The Administrative Law Judge ruled that these are damages caused by the cake refusal, and that the couple is not entitled to additional damages for emotional suffering caused by media and social media attention. The ALJ also proposes issuance of a cease-and-desist order against the bakery owners.

Both sides have ten days to file exceptions to the Proposed Order.  The Labor Commissioner will then issue the agency's final order, which is appealable to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

As reported by the Daily Signal, last Friday, supporters of the bakery owners set up a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe to help the bakers raise funds to pay any final damage award.  Within a day the page raised $109,000, but was taken down by GoFundMe as being in violation of its Terms and Conditions because it involves formal charges. The money already raised will still go to the bakery owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein.  A new fundraising page has been set up on Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse website.