- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Christian owners of an Oregon bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple — and were sequentially fined by the state for doing so — said they plan to fight that decision amid an impending deadline.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, the husband-and-wife proprietors of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, were told earlier this month by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries to pay $135,000 “in damages for emotional and mental suffering” after the agency concluded they violated a state discrimination law prohibiting denial of service on account of sexual orientation.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said that the Kleins have to figure out how they’ll be paying the sum by next week, but the couple adamantly said they will appeal.

“For this to go this far, it’s ridiculous,” Mr. Klein told a local Fox News affiliate Wednesday. “It should scare every American.”

According to the Kleins, catering a same-sex marriage offends their religious ideals. When the bureau found them guilty of discrimination, however, it noted: “This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

Mr. Klein told the Blaze that the ruling is an example of “the persecution of Christians in this country.”

“I will use every legal remedy I have to make sure that this man cannot do this to me, cannot do it to my wife, cannot do it to my five children, cannot do it to any other American,” he said. “I will not relent. I will continue.”

Charlie Burr, the labor bureau’s communication director, said the agency needs to know by Monday if the Kleins will pay the sum in full, plan to make monthly installments or ask for a stay. Presently the couple says they will pursue a stay, and if successful they’ll be spared from making any payments until a court can weigh in.

Mr. Avakian is expected to decide whether to grant the Kleins‘ request for a stay within a month of it being received by the bureau, though he isn’t required to put a pause on his ruling while he decides. The state could elect to put a lien on the Kleins’ home if arrangements aren’t initiated by next week, Portland radio news station KXL reported.

Meantime, Mr. Klein said he has no plans to “pay anything.”

“I would appeal to everybody in the state of Oregon,” he told KXL this week. “Understand that this is the way things operate. We need to institute change, take the government to task for violating our constitutional freedoms at whatever level they are doing it.”

 

The couple who was refused service by Sweet Cakes, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, said in a statement earlier this month the situation has been “a horrible ordeal for our entire family.”

“We never imagined finding ourselves caught up in a fight for social justice. We knew it was on us to set an example for our two kids — to stand up for what is right,” they said.


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