CFJ Calls for SCOTUS to Protect Religious Freedom in Art
The Committee for Justice, along with The Manhattan Institute and the Cato Institute, filed an amicus brief in support of the Kleins in Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry. The brief was authored by Ilya Shapiro, (counsel of record) of the Manhattan Institute, Trevor Burrus of the Cato Institute and CFJ President Curt Levey.
The Kleins are a married couple who owned a bakery in Colorado, until they were fined $135,000 for refusing to violate their religious beliefs by baking a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. The Klein’s explained that cake baking was to them an art form and a celebration of the event the cake was meant to occasion. They spent time with each potential customer discussing the purpose of each cake in order to craft a one-of-a-kind piece of art that celebrated the customer’s event.
Though the Kleins welcomed LGBTQ+ customers, and had in fact baked a cake for the wedding of the Plaintiff’s mother to a man, they believe that their faith forbids them to celebrate same-sex marriages. The very personal act of creating celebratory art concerning an event that contradicted their religious beliefs was deeply uncomfortable to the Kleins, who politely asked the couple to use one of the many other bakeries in the area. Despite easily finding a replacement baker, the Plaintiff’s filed suit with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry and obtained a massive damage award that forced the Kleins to close the bakery that formed the basis of their livelihood.
The Committee for Justice believes it violates the Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom and freedom of speech to compel someone to create art in violation of their religious beliefs simply because they are selling a type of art to the general public. Participating in the marketplace should not require citizens to place themselves at the disposal of anyone who wants to send any message, particularly one that violates their deepest religious convictions.