The First Amendment apparently does not apply to opponents of gay marriage in Oregon.
Two Christian bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple had already been ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple, and now they’re being prohibited from speaking out about their opposition to gay marriage as well.
Aaron and Melissa Klein were issued a cease-and-desist order by the labor commissioner in Oregon after being interviewed by the Family Research Council, according to the Daily Signal.
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion nor freedom of speech.”
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian placed the effective gag order on the Kleins, saying their vocal objection to gay marriage was directly related to their “discrimination” against homosexuals.
“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’ refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation.”
The cease-and-desist order said the Kleins could be prohibited from speaking about their religious views because their former business is a place of “public accommodation.”
“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” [Administrative Law Judge Alan] Avakian wrote.
In short, because they were thought to be “discriminating” against same-sex couples while running a business, they are being prohibited by Oregon from speaking out about their reasons for doing so.
“This is a shocking result which shows the state’s relentless campaign to punish Oregonians who live and work according to their faith,” said the Kleins’ attorney, Anna Harmon. “Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas.”
The Kleins say they’re not backing down.
“He want’s to silence anyone who opposes his point of view,” Brad Klein said. “he’s doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back.”
By using the power of the state, Avakian is trying to strip the Kleins of nearly all the protections enumerated under the First Amendment.
He is doing so in the same week the rest of America is celebrating its independence from an overbearing and oppressive government.