04 May 2015

Bakers Forced To Accept Same-Sex Wedding

Sweet Cakes
The owners of an Oregon bakery learned last 24 April that there is a severe price to pay for following their Christian faith, but there is also salvation.

A judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recommended a lesbian couple should receive US$ 135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering after Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to make them a wedding cake.

As a result – Aaron and Melissa Klein could lose everything they own — including their home. The Oregonian reports the recommended penalty is not final and could be raised or lowered by State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.

The controversy started in 2013 when Aaron Klein declined to provide a cake for a lesbian wedding because their religious beliefs do not condone the deplorable behavior of engaging in a relationship with the same sex. Later that year, the women filed a complaint against Klein and his wife, Melissa.

"The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants," read a statement by the BOLI to the Oregonian. "Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007."

Within hours of the ruling, the Family Research Council facilitated the establishment of a GoFundMe account to help the Kleins raise the money the need. In less than eight hours, more than US$ 100,000 was raised.

However, late Friday (24 April) GoFundMe pulled the plug — sending this message to would-be donors:
"After careful review by our team, we have found the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions,” the message read. “The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted the harsh penalty levied against the Kleins.

"The state of Oregon has given a new meaning to shotgun weddings," Perkins said. "You will be forced to participate in same-sex weddings and violate your beliefs."

Perkins wondered what affect the Oregon ruling would have on religious freedom across the country.

"If Americans are not free to decline to be involved in a specific activity that violates their beliefs, then we are not free," he said.

It’s not exactly clear what led GoFundMe to drop the fundraising drive – but Perkins blamed it on gay activists.

"This reveals two very important aspects of the redefinition of marriage, Americans are not going along with it and two – the intolerance of those trying to redefine marriage is historically unprecedented," Perkins said.

Samaritan’s Purse a Christian ministry run by Franklin Graham, has stepped up and offered to raise funds for the embattled Christian couple.

Aaron Klein told me they will appeal the judge’s recommended fine.