We’ve been following the case for some time now of the Oregon bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple based on their Christian beliefs. The couple, Melissa and Aaron Klein, have become the poster children for the blatant infringement upon the First Amendment being wrought in the name of gay rights.
You’ll recall that the state of Oregon ruled the Kleins had violated the lesbians’ civil rights by discriminating based on sexual orientation. Never mind that the lesbian couple had every right, in our free market, to go find another baker who would service their needs. The heavy hand of the state fined the couple $135,000 to cover the lesbian couple’s “emotional suffering.”
As if the fine weren’t outrageous enough, the state slapped a gag order on the Kleins, evangelical Christians, banning them from speaking publicly about their refusal to participate in or bake wedding cakes for same-sex unions. In case you’re just catching up on this case, read more about it here, here and here.
But if you thought all of that was bad, what the state of Oregon just did still may take the cake (no pun intended). It will take your breath away.
Via The Blaze:On Monday, the Associated Press reported that “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” owners Melissa and Aaron Klein paid their state-ordered damages to a lesbian couple with check totaling $136,927.07 — but that isn’t the whole story. According to Fox News writer Todd Starnes, who spoke with Melissa Klein a few weeks before Christmas, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries confiscated all of the money in her checking and savings accounts, including one that had money set aside for her church tithe. They totaled nearly $7,000.
“It was like my breath was taken away,” Klein told Starnes. “I panicked. Everything was gone.”
“We had three accounts,” she added. “I have one account that’s labeled, ‘God’s money’ – our tithing. They just took it.”
It is not directly clear why the $7,000 was confiscated by the state prior to Christmas. Monday’s check of nearly $137,000 included interest accrued for not paying the state on time. According to Starnes, the check was for the full amount owed to the state’s government and was raised through donations to the family.
The Kleins reportedly got the money to pay the full amount of the fine through donations collected through a fundraising page set up to help them fight this battle.
The damages were awarded in July for “emotional suffering” caused by Sweet Cakes by Melissa for refusing to make a wedding cake two years ago for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer. The bakers said their refusal was prompted by religious beliefs.
A 2007 Oregon law protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. The state ruled it also bars private businesses from discriminating against potential customers.
So, now we have the state seizing the property of someone who dared to exercise their religious beliefs in the United States of America? Whatever happened to the right to life, liberty and property — codified in Thomas Jefferson’s terms of the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
If you asked me, I’d say the Kleins are the ones who deserve compensation for “emotional distress.” Having your bank account seized by the government is pretty darn distressing. Having to find a different baker to bake your wedding cake pales by comparison.
One of the very troubling legacies of the year we’re closing out is a newly-fabricated “right” — courtesy of five unelected folks in black robes — increasingly trumping the established rights to freedom of speech; freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof; and the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness and acquisition of property.
This battle is not over, and we must fight. The Kleins’ attorney says his clients still plan on fighting the state’s decision, even if it means going to the Supreme Court.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]