PORTLAND, July 4, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - Joseph and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, have been fined $135,000 and were issued a gag order for refusing to cater to a same-sex "marriage" based on their sincerely held religious convictions that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The final ruling issued by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who was recently outed for working closely behind the scenes with pro-homosexual activist groups and donating to their cause, effectively stated that the Kleins must be punished for inflicting emotional and psychological damage on the lesbian couple to whom they denied service. Not only were they fined $135,000, they were also ordered never to publicly discuss "not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs" — an order in clear violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.
"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 gag order came in light of a public interview the Kleins participated in with a conservative, pro-family journalist, in which Aaron Klein said, "This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong."
Anna Harmon, the Kleins' lawyer, labeled the ruling a blatant violation of basic constitutional rights to free speech and religious freedom.
"Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to 'rehabilitate' those whose beliefs do not conform to the state's ideas," said Harmon. "Now he has ruled that the Kleins' simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American's right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas."
On their Facebook page, the Kleins echoed Harmon's sentiments.
"This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights. According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion [nor] freedom of speech."
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian expressed not the slightest bit of remorse by imposing such a ruling on the Kleins, saying they were guilty of discrimination and deserve the full penalty of the law.
"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 same Facebook post, the Kleins may have already violated the gag order by pledging to appeal the ruling, declaring they will "not give up this fight" and "not be silenced."
To donate to the Kleins, visit their page.