Sweet Cakes by Melissa takes same-sex wedding cake fight to appeals court

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The case of the Oregon bakers who denied service to a same-sex couple several years ago has come before the state Court of Appeals.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Melissa and Aaron Klein argue that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Bureau of Labor and Industries violated state and federal laws by forcing them to pay damages to the couple.

Lawyers for Sweet Cakes by Melissa also said the state violated the Kleins' rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.

They argue the fine was excessive and that Avakian, who praised an LGBTQ advocacy group on Facebook before the hearing, should have recused himself.

If the Kleins are successful, their appeal could create a religious exemption to the 2007 Oregon Equality Act, which protects Oregonians from discrimination.