SCOTUS Refers Oregon Same-Sex Wedding Case Back To State Courts

Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham Ore. is seen on Feb. 5 2013. The store is now closed

Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham Ore. is seen on Feb. 5 2013. The store is now closed

The United States Supreme Court on Monday remanded down to the lower court for reconsideration a case in which the owner of a bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Those cases "must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to honest religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market"'.

The justices tossed out a 2017 opinion from the Oregon Court of Appeals that upheld a $135,000 judgment against the bakery, Sweetcakes by Melissa, ordering the appellate court to reconsider the case in light of last year's Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado.

The Kleins' case arose when Rachel Bowman-Cryer went to them in January 2013 to see about a wedding cake.

"Today's move to send the case back to the OR state courts is something of a surprise, because this case had been pitched all along as raising the broader constitutional question that the Justices ducked past year in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case", said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

When told there was no groom, Klein said he was sorry but the bakery did not make cakes for same-sex weddings.

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When McPherson returned to the shop to protest, Aaron Klein quoted a Bible passage: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination".

The agency agreed the Kleins had violated the public accommodation law and awarded the Bowman-Cryers $135,000.

The Supreme Court has said not yet to a second helping of cake. A state appeals court upheld that ruling and rejected the bakers' argument that it violates the First Amendment to compel them to "express a message - a celebration of same-sex marriage - with which they disagree".

Lawyers for the Kleins, from the conservative group First Liberty Institute, have said the bakery was driven out of business because of the dispute. The Supreme Court will likely have to weigh in eventually, regardless of their decision not to hear this new case right now, according to legal experts.

The state in court papers called the case a straightforward example of denial of service based on sexual orientation. "The record shows that petitioners denied services to the Bowman-Cryers based on their sexual orientation before discussing the design of any cake". Another dispute involving a florist from Washington state who would not create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding is headed to the Supreme Court. The Oregon appellate ruling came before the court's decision in Phillips' case.

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