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Oregon Christian Bakers File Appeal Of Same-Sex “Wedding” Fine

Our friends at First Liberty Institute have announced that they and attorneys with Boyden Gray & Associates have filed an appeal at the Oregon Supreme Court in the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, devout Christians and former owners of the family bakery "Sweet Cakes by Melissa."

Aaron, Melissa and their five children live in Northwestern Oregon. In 2007, they fulfilled their dream of opening Oregon bakersa family bakery, called “Sweet Cakes by Melissa.”

“When we opened the shop we thought it would be a great way to provide for our children,” Aaron said.

For Melissa, the bakery was an opportunity to express her creativity. “When I bake a cake, it becomes my canvas,” she said. “I love getting to pour myself into cakes to create something unique and special for every customer who comes to us.”

Melissa dreamed that her children would be able to take over the shop one day—but that dream was shattered only a few years later.

In January 2013, a woman came to the bakery and requested a wedding cake for her same-sex wedding. The woman was a return customer, who had previously ordered a cake for another event. She had such a positive experience at Sweet Cakes that she wanted Melissa to make her wedding cake.

Aaron Klein explained that by making a wedding cake, they would be endorsing something that violated their religious beliefs, which is something they could not do.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), a state administrative agency, sued the Kleins for engaging in discrimination, eventually finding them guilty and ordering Aaron and Melissa to pay a $135,000 penalty.

In addition to the financial penalty from the state, the Kleins endured hate mail, harassment, and threats of violence.  Business declined, and in September 2013, they were forced to close their bakery.  “For us to lose the bakery was really crushing,” said Melissa.  “We worked so hard to build it up.  We poured our heart into it.  It was my passion.  To have it taken away like that was really devastating.”

You can watch an interview detailing Melissa and Aaron Klein’s ordeal through this link

OneNewsNow reports that the Oregon Court of Appeals late last year ruled against the Kleins, upholding a decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that resulted in a $135,000 penalty.

Meanwhile, Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, told OneNewsNow the Kleins are entitled to the Constitution's promises of religious liberty and free expression.

"As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said during recent oral arguments on a similar case, 'Tolerance is essential in a free society, and tolerance is most meaningful when it's mutual.' Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others," Shackelford added.

Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for First Liberty, told OneNewsNow the true test of a country's commitment to freedom is when its citizens welcome disagreement and live peaceably as neighbors regardless. "In its ruling, the Oregon Court of Appeals undermined America's promise of protection even for those forms of expression which may be unpopular.”

“We’re appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the Oregon Court of Appeals and restore Aaron and Melissa’s religious liberty,” Shackelford continued.  “No one in America should be forced by the government to choose between their faith and their livelihood.”

As our friend Gary Bauer once observed, “The gay-rights movement is instinctively totalitarian. It seeks nothing less than the total and complete acceptance of gay marriage and the repudiation of marriage as it has existed through all human history and in the traditions of every major world religion. Until that happens, their immediate goal is to try to marginalize anyone who expresses a dissenting view in public.”

Were Melissa and Aaron Klein atheists and member of the creative elite, such as an artist or a writer and had refused to use their creative talent to serve a cause that violated her beliefs, say maybe decorating a church, no doubt the Left would be quick to stand for her First Amendment rights.

However, the Kleins are part of the working middle class -- bakers and small business owners -- not an artist or writer or other creative talent recognized by the Leftist elite, so in their eyes Melissa and Aaron can be forced to use their talent in an activity that violates her Christian beliefs.

To force someone to do labor against their will is the very definition of slavery and that is nothing less than what the radical homosexual lobby and their secular liberal allies have been using courts across America to do.

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