Christian Bakery Owners Silenced By Officials As Lesbian Couple Awarded $135,000 In Damages For Being “Mentally Raped” By The Bakers
[guest post by Dana]
Power corrupts obscenely and absolutely:
On Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian upheld a preliminary finding that sentenced Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to a fine of $135,000 in emotional damages to the homosexual couple they denied service, but also added a new provision forbidding them to speak about their unwillingness to serve a gay marriage.
If you recall, the Kleins owned the now closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery. They had declined to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple back in 2013.
As a result, the lesbian couple claimed 88 symptoms of “emotional distress” in their subsequent lawsuit against the Kleins.
The Kleins had attempted to crowd source for help, but GoFundMe pulled their campaign, and not soon after (when they were questioned about it), implemented a new policy prohibiting campaigns from defending against claims of discriminatory acts.
Ignoring the fact that the Kleins did indeed provide cakes for gay customers when their business was open, Avakian made the following inaccurate assertion:
“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.”
With that, Avakian tyrannically issued a “cease and desist” order for the Kleins to shut-up already about same-sex marriages and violations of their faith:
“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.
The Kleins responded to the gag order:
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” wrote the Kleins on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
Why is an elected official compelled to silence two individuals who already face bankruptcy and have been forced to close their brick and mortar business?
Perhaps because he is threatened by the Klein’s fighting spirit and refusal to go down without a fight:
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.”
And we can’t have that.
Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation responded to Avakian’s move to silence the Kleins:
It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America. And Commissioner Avakian’s order that the Kleins stop speaking about this case is even more outrageous—and also a fundamental violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment.
Avakian would have fit right in as a bureaucrat in the Soviet Union or Red China. Oregon should be ashamed that such an unprincipled, scurrilous individual is a government official in the state.