90 Miles From Tyranny : Free Speech?!? State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Free Speech?!? State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today 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...

1 comment:

  1. Amazing that "Labor comissioners" have such authority. Considering that this is not a labor dispute. And the labor commissioner seems to have no limits on the penalties they can impose. Nothing like "cruel or unusual" stopping them from imposing a fine.

    If this was a crime, then there should be a criminal prosecution, with penalties established by the legislatures and imposed by judges, after a trial. If this were a tort, then there should be a civil trial where the penalty is directly related to making whole the actual damages incurred (the value of a special wedding cake being $200). This "commissioner" non-sense is a whole new form of tyranny.


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