Since 2013, Aaron and Melissa Klein, Christian bakers from Oregon, have been dealing with a lawsuit for refusing to provide a cake for a gay wedding due to their religious beliefs.
After nearly half a decade, the Supreme Court sent their case back to lower courts this week, and tossed out a previous Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold a $135,000 fine. The case will now be re-evaluated in light of the recent reversal decision regarding a similar one, that of the Masterpiece Cakeshop.
The story began when the Kleins informed a lesbian couple they did not make cakes for same-sex weddings due to their religious beliefs. After they were sued by the couple, who claimed mental and emotional damages, the family was forced to shutdown their bakery, “Sweet Cakes by Melissa.”
The Daily Signal produced a video about the Kleins, in which their lawyer reminded viewers that the government was pursuing both business and personal assets, forcing them into financial dire straits as they lost their jobs and attempted to provide for their five children.
The lawyer representing the Kleins has called this new Supreme Court decision a “victory…for religious liberty for all Americans.”
“The Constitution protects speech, popular or not, from condemnation by the government. The message from the Court is clear, government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated,” First Liberty president, CEO and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford said.
The Kleins shut down their business due to the financial hardship of flailing business after the incident, but Jack Phillips of the Masterpiece Cakeshop remained open. He has since been sued multiple times, more than once by the same person who requested a cake for a gender transition celebration.
As culture shifts further from God, Christians, like Phillips, will continue to be targeted for living out their religious beliefs. But this isn’t a fight that just Christians should care about—the First Amendment protects all Americans and all religions. Standing strong for religious liberty and freedom of conscience is important when any group becomes a target, or it may soon become a thing of the past—and faster than we think.