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'Sweet Cakes' Bakers Heading to Supreme Court to Find Out if Free Speech Is Really Free

10-22-2018
Christian bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein were forced to closed shop after a same-sex lawsuit.

The Oregon couple who was forced to close their bakery after declining to make a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding is taking their case to the US Supreme Court.

Aaron and Melissa Klein had to shut down their family business, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, after the Bureau of Labor and Industries fined them $135,000 for emotional damages inflicted on the lesbian plaintiffs.

The state agency also issued a gag order forbidding them from discussing their Christian beliefs publicly.

"This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation," the order states. "Under Oregon law, that is illegal."

While the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the gag order, they upheld the labor board's decision to fine the bakers.

Now, the Kleins are appealing that decision to the nation's high court. On Monday, attorneys with the First Liberty Institute and Boyden Gray & Associates filed a petition with the high court on their behalf.

"Free Americans should not be compelled by the government to create a message that conflicts with their deepest convictions," Ambassador C. Boyden Gray of Boyden Gray & Associates said.

Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, suggested the case will serve as a test of the First Amendment.

"Freedom of speech has always included the freedom not to speak the government's message," Shackelford said. "This case can clarify whether speech is truly free if it is government mandated."

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