As reported, the Christian owners of a former bakery were officially ordered Thursday by the Oregon labor commissioner to pay $135,000 in fines to a lesbian couple after the bakers declined to bake a wedding cake for the couple due to their religious beliefs.
The ruling, issued by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, upheld an earlier finding by administrative judge Alan McCullough, who determined that Sweet Cakes owners Aaron and Melissa Klein had discriminated against the women based on their sexual orientation.
The Kleins said their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage had prevented them from complying with the cake request. The Kleins were forced to close their storefront in Gresham, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, in 2013 shortly after the lesbian couple filed a civil rights complaint against them. At that time, same-sex marriage still wasn’t legal in Oregon.
The lesbian couple will receive the funds for “emotional, mental, and physical suffering.” Their Go Fund Me page was abruptly shut down after donations poured in. Fortunately God watches from above and “Samaritan’s Purse” will accept donations that Go Fund Me cannot touch and now YOU can also help Sweet Cakes owners Aaron and Melissa Klein directly as well.
DOJ Sues Christian Bakers For Refusing To Make Lesbian Couple Cake
A lesbian couple is so offended that this Oregon bakery would not make them a same-sex cake that they sued them claiming they suffered ’emotional, mental and physical damages’ that added up to $150,000. They forced the family to close their shop, over what, a cake.
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling July 2, 2015 ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.
“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”
In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”
Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.
The lesbian couple claimed they suffered ‘mental and physical’ damages over a cake, what about the devastation caused to the family who lost their business and the means to support their family.
Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough, who is employed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and was appointed by Avakian, threw out the argument in the “proposed order” he issued back in April.
But today, Avakian, who was in charge of making the final ruling in the case—and is also an elected politician—reversed that decision.
“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.