After a Christian couple said they refused to bake a gay wedding cake because they have “faith in the Lord,” an Oregon state agency ordered them to “cease and desist” talking about their faith.
The couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein, were also ordered to pay $135,000 to the lesbian couple they refused to serve as compensation for “emotional damages.”
Claiming the Kleins violated Oregon’s anti-discriminatory laws, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered them to “cease and desist” discussing their Christian beliefs because they made the following statements on the Christian Broadcasting Network:
- Aaron Klein: “I didn’t want to be a part of her marriage, which I think is wrong.”
- Melissa Klein: “I am who I am and I want to live my life the way I want to live my life and, you know, I choose to serve God.”
- Aaron Klein: “It’s one of those things where you never want to see something you’ve put so much work into go belly up, but on the other hand, I have faith in the Lord and he’s taken care of us up to this point and I’m sure he will in the future.”
“Avakian took these general statements of the Kleins talking about their religious beliefs, the attack launched on them by Avakian’s agency, and their determination to not give in to government persecution, to ‘constitute notice that discrimination will be made in the future by refusing such services,'” The Daily Signal reported.
The commissioner even singled out a handwritten sign the Kleins posted on their bakery’s front door which stated:
Closed but still in business. You can reach me by … this fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your religious freedom is becoming not free anymore. This is ridiculous that we cannot practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve HIM with all our heart.
“Aaron Klein did not only say that he would not do [the lesbian couple’s] specific marriage and cake but that [they] ‘don’t do’ same-sex marriages and cakes,” Avakian wrote. “[The Kleins] joint statement that they will ‘continue’ to stand strong relates to their denial of service and is prospective in nature.”
“The statements, therefore, indicate their clear intent to discriminate in the future just as they had done with [the lesbian couple].”
In other words, if you decline to cater a gay wedding, you must surrender your First Amendment rights entirely, according to BOLI.
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