An administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled today that Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, should pay fines to the State of Oregon totaling $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has stated publicly that they want to rehabilitate the Klein’s business.
The proposed fine is for emotional suffering. Bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein, who have since closed their Gresham store, say the fine is enough to potentially bankrupt their family of seven.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement that what happened today is an egregious assault on the freedom Americans have to peaceably live their lives according to their beliefs.
“An Oregon judge made clear in no uncertain terms to the Kleins and all Oregonians that the state has the right to demand that citizens engage in activities that violate their beliefs and if they refuse, they will lose their ability to make a living. In a free country, this is a ruling that cannot and must not stand.”
“A government able to bankrupt people for standing by their deepest beliefs is a government of unbridled power and a threat to everyone’s freedom,” said Perkins.
— CNJ staff