Fast on the heels of Thursday’s administrative ruling ordering the owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple for declining to bake them a wedding cake on the grounds of religious conviction, the bakers announced they’re not going to take it lying down.
They’re going to fight.
What makes the administrative decision especially egregious is that Oregon did not recognize same-sex marriages, which were illegal in the state at the time the bakers refused to bake and decorate the cake.
“He wants to silence anyone who opposes his point of view,” Aaron Klein, who co-owns the bakery with his wife Melissa, told TheBlaze.
He was referring to Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who pushed the case against the couple.
“Unfortunately, he’s doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back.”
Klein told TheBlaze that he and his wife would request a stay of the order pending its appeal. Otherwise they would be required to hand over $135,000 to the couple, Rachel Cryer-Bowman and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
This is money they don’t have. They’re bakers running their business out of their home.
“It has the potential to financially ruin our family,” Klein said. “[Avakian] knew that full well going into this. He did not seek business assets, he sought personal property.”
The Kleins have set up a website to help with legal costs.
Aaron Klein added a warning for Americans.
“For years we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody,” he told TheBlaze. “I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience.”
Klein’s warnings have validity, according to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who in a dissent listed what could be problems arising from last week’s ruling that gay marriages are constitutionally protected.
“Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage – when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples,” he wrote in his dissenting opinion. “There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this court.”
Even worse, some columnists suggest that places of worship should lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to marry same-sex couples.
Fusion’s Felix Salmon wrote:
[T]he US government subsidizes churches to the tune of many billions of dollars per year by giving them tax-exempt status. … The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, but that’s free as in love, not free as in beer. Taxation is a purely secular affair, and by default it applies to everyone equally, whether they’re a religious institution or not.
These are not good times for Americans of faith.
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