Tag Archives: Sweet Cakes by Melissa

“Victory … for Religious Liberty for All Americans” After Supreme Court Reverses State-Sponsored Punishment of Oregon Bakers

Lawyers for Oregon Christian bakers call today’s move by the U.S. Supreme Court is a “victory for Aaron and Melissa Klein and for religious liberty for all Americans.”

First Liberty Institute

Aaron and Melissa Klein declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013. Even though same-sex marriage was not legal in the state at that point, the couple complained. State-sponsored moves followed – including a gag order and $135,000 fine – forcing the Kleins out-of-business.

Public targeting of the couple in notoriously ‘liberal’ Oregon was fueled by the outrageous comments by then-head of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Brad Avakian.

As the couple pointed out, Avakian publicly declared that Christians needed to be ‘rehabilitated’ for their beliefs:

[T]he Kleins argue that Avakian “said that ‘folks’ in Oregon do not have a ‘right to discriminate’ and stated that those who use their ‘beliefs’ to justify discrimination need to be ‘rehabilitate[d].’ ” (Alterations by the Kleins.) Later, the Kleins characterize Avakian as stating that “the Kleins *** needed to be ‘rehabilitate[d].’ “

Caselaw

As I explain in this post, the Supreme Court didn’t choose to decide the case (grant cert) but instead reversed the Oregon Appeals Court decision uploading BOLI’s actions. The Court vacated the Oregon’s Appeals Court decision and told them to do it over in light of the nation’s highest court Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.

First Liberty attorney, Kelly Shackelford, says that Oregon, as in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, was openly hostile to the Kleins:

The Constitution protects speech, popular or not, from condemnation by the government. The message from the Court is clear, government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated.

First Liberty Institute

First Liberty says Oregon’s contempt for the First Amendment was clear throughout its treatment of the Kleins:

The State of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) found that the Kleins had had violated Oregon’s public accommodations statute after Aaron and Melissa declined to design and create wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. In addition to the $135,000 penalty for “emotional damages,” BOLI issued a gag order, preventing them from even talking about their actual beliefs. As a result, the Kleins were forced to shut down their bakery. Aaron and Melissa appealed the BOLI ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals in April 2016. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the gag order but otherwise upheld the decision of BOLI in December 2017.

First Liberty Institute

First Liberty keeps a website about the Klein’s case. Here’s a video of the couple talking about the Supreme Court victory in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case:

Though the Supreme Court didn’t grant the certiorari in the case, the Klein’s case could end up back there. If the Kleins lose again in the Oregon Appeal’s Court they’re likely to appeal to the highest court again.

Sweet Cakes Same Sex Fall Out: Bankruptcy Over State $135K Fine for ‘Mental Rape’ ‘Lack of Appetite’ ‘Weight Gain’ of Lesbian Couple

As in every case, including Sweet Cakes by Melissa, administrative judges work for the departments over which they adjudicate.

Welcome DrudgeReport readers! 

Image: Federalist Papers

Almost as soon as the administrative law judge working for the government of Oregon handed down a $135,000.00 fine against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Go Fund Me page set up to help pay their legal bills was taken down.

Friday, the bureaucrat working for the state of Oregon ruled the bakery owners personally owed the money to a lesbian couple because in January of 2013, the devout Christian bakers told the couple they wouldn’t make a cake for their wedding.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, whose business has since closed, now face personal bankruptcy.

The Daily Signal reports Aaron says the state chose to go after the couple to destroy them:

Aaron, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Sunday, said the state of Oregon is attempting to “obliterate” his family.

“The state is now saying that we can award damages above and beyond what you have already suffered … and they have no qualms about doing this,” he said. “It is really showing the state is taking a stance on absolutely obliterating somebody that takes a different stance than the state has.”

The Klein Family Image: Dana Loesch

As The Daily Signal reports, Klein attorney, Anna Harmon, seems to indicate the state was on a seek and destroy mission:

“An important thing to understand about the damages the state is claiming in this case is that the [fine] isn’t going to come from liquidating business assets,” she said.

Their business is gone. They don’t have business assets so when we talk about [the fine], it’s personal. It means that’s money they would have used to feed their children that they can’t use anymore.

In order to spin up the fine, the lesbian couple had to submit a list of horribles they suffered at the hands of the bakers. 

Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer have since managed to plan a wedding and mother a child but were apparently barely able to cope as the case went on. 

The (poorly) alphabetized list reads like a 15 year old’s attempt to make a glossary for a last-minute research paper. See both full lists below, but here are just a few of the harms from one of the women: (note the conflicting or same maladies):

A: Anger, Anxiety, Apprehension

B: 

C: Concern for privacy, crying

D. Degradation,demeanment“, depression, devastation, disbelief, discomfort, doubt

E.  (listed after the F’s) Excessive sleep, embarrassment, exhaustion

F. Forced to borrow money, fear of not being able to get another job, felt stupid

G. 

H. Horror, humiliation, hurt, hysteria.

I.  Insomnia, indignity, irritability with family and friends

J.  

L. Loss of appetite, loss of sleep, pride, etc

M. Mental anguish, mental distress

N. Nervous appetite

P. Pale and sick after work, public humiliation

Q. 

R. Resentment, ridicule

S. Sadness, self doubt, shock, stunned, surprise

T. Tension

U. Uncertainty, upset, upset stomach

V.  

W. Worry, wounded

X.

Y.

Z.

The other member of the couple listed ‘Mental Rape’ as a by product of the case. 

It sounds as if the couple has a bigger case against the State of Oregon for the legal process than from the initial harm from Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Look at those lists: most of the harms came after they complained and the state took over the legal action against the Christian bakery. 

The Daily Signal reports Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries chief, Brad Avakian, could reduce the fine if he wanted to. Considering the progressive ideologue has championed the case in his politicization of BOLI, that is doubtful.

After all, as a progressive hero once pointed out:

If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.

Even if it means sacrificing one family and their heart felt, sincere, religious beliefs to the ‘state’.

‘Progressives?’ Makes that Oppressives.

List of Complaints Alleged Against Aaron and Melissa Klein

McCain: ‘Administrative Law Judges’ Are Just One Reason Why the Outcome of The ‘Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ Case Was Baked In.

Who and what are ‘administrative law judges’ who apparently put Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of business for good?

sweet cakes

As we explained on this website yesterday, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same sex wedding have lost their case before state appointed Administrative Law Judge. But there’s a story behind this story. 

At issue is the role and function of these “Administrative Law Judges” or “ALJs”.

For the uninitiated, ALJ’s are not actual judges nor are they part of our judicial branch of government. In Oregon, ALJ’s are agency employees whose job security depends on pleasing the statewide elected official (Secretary of State, Attorney General Bureau of Labor and Industries boss) who signs their paychecks.

In this case, Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough works for Brad Avakian, so it’s little surprise this ALJ rubber stamped BOLI’s pre-determined outcome, much like city hearings officer do in local municipal contested case hearings.

McCullough previously made news when he ordered a Eugene store to pay a woman $60,000 for denying her service wih her”service dog.”

There’s more. As I pointed out here in 2013, now that the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case is left up to BOLI Director Brad Avakian the issue is likely over and done with. Avakian is hardly a fair arbiter in this case. Even though same sex marriage was not law when when Sweet Cakes case got started, Avakian helped set the stage as a legislator:

On its third reading, SB 2 was carried by Sen. Avakian and passed the state senate, 21-7, with two excused. All seven nay votes were Republicans, while four GOP senators – Frank Morse, Fred Girod, David Nelson and Jackie Winters – voted with the Democrat majority. SB 2 then went to the house, where it was amended to provide an exemption from the Act for “a bona fide church or other religious institution.” Notably, this amendment did not provide for an individual exemption based on that individual’s personal religious beliefs. SB 2 passed the house with amendments, 35-25, with four GOP members – Vicki Berger (Salem), Bob Jenson (Pendleton), Chuck Burley (Bend) and John Dallum (Hood River) – joining all 31 Democrats.

As I predicted back then, there are more problems Christians and others will confront because of this law:

…Oregon law presently does not require a church to provide the use of its facilities for same sex weddings (which are not legal in Oregon anyway – yet). However, if a church or religious institution operates a commercial or business activity, such as a thrift store, the religious exemption may not apply. But more importantly, the OEA’07 provides no religious exemption for individuals.

The Sweetcakes case presents an interesting legal argument in that, while on the surface the Kleins appeared to violate the OEA’07 by refusing to make the same sex wedding cake, they in fact refused to participate in an act that at present is not lawful in Oregon. …[T]he Kleins are not alleged to have told gay and lesbian customers they may not enter or shop at Sweetcakes by Melissa, nor have the Kleins refused to sell their products to any protected class – with one singular exception. Whether the BOLI staff, including the ALJ, agrees or not is doubtful. But consider the following hypothetical case.

Five members of a religious sect that practices polygamy – one man and four women – enter the bakery. The man tells the owner he wants a wedding cake to celebrate his pending marriage to all four of the women, who he lists as brides. The baker tells the man he and his companions are welcome to purchase anything in the store, but the baker will not make a wedding cake for a marriage act that not only violates the baker’s personal religious beliefs, but is not lawful in Oregon, which does not recognize plural marriages.

On its face, the baker has violated the OEA’07 by discriminating against the five customers, based on their religion, which is a protected class. But can the OEA’07 compel a “place of public accommodation” to participate in an act that is not lawful in Oregon? While there is no current Oregon case deciding that issue…

With an activist labor commissioner in Avakian on their side, one can expect more cases to be brought before BOLI or in civil court, claiming sexual orientation discrimination. Christian-owned businesses are particularly vulnerable to set-ups and shakedowns if they refuse to provide their services to a same sex couple or gay person, who may not sincerely want the service in the first place, but may be looking to a P Club type BOLI award.

That point was made by Aaron Klein during a presentation at the Family Research Center’s Values Voters Summit and excerpted here:

I could understand the backlash from the gay and lesbian community. I could see that; what I don’t understand is the government sponsorship of religious persecution.

Bruce McCain is an attorney in private practice, member of the Reynolds School Board, retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain and a member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce. 

Christian Bakery in Oregon Goes Underground After Radical Gay Targeting

Christian Bakery Forced Underground for Refusing Business to Same Sex Couple
Christian Bakery Forced Underground for Refusing Business to Same Sex Couple

The Christian owners of a Gresham, Oregon bakery have been forced to close their bakery after being targeted by radical gays for their refusal to bake a wedding cake for a same sex marriage. ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ will go underground instead. According to Willamette Week, the business will now become an at-home business.

This is what Christian persecution looks like.

Whether you support same sex marriage or not, the fact that a company should be forced to endorse a marriage that runs counter to their religious beliefs is an affront to the free exercise of religion. Is cake-making a public accommodation? Sweet Cakes by Melissa is run by a Christian couple who run their business on Christian values. 

Willamette Week claims they don’t. 

To test out which religious convictions would cause the shop to refuse business, Willamette Week called up the shop and asked them to make cakes for divorce, out-of-wedlock children, human stem cell research and a pagan solstice (with a pentacle design requested for the cake). All requests were responded to positively, with price quotes.

Perhaps the newspaper reporter should have come into the shop and tried to order the cake as the same sex couple did. Did Sweet Cakes by Melissa decorate the cakes? No. Did they take the order? No.

I’m not in support of discrimination. I’m in support of Christians not being bullied for their beliefs.

The Oregonian reports the lesbian couple has filed a complaint with the State,

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries‘ civil rights division will investigate to determine if the business violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Sweet Cakes owners say they and their vendors have been threatened according to the Washington Times,

The Kleins cited their Christian beliefs of traditional marriage when they turned down that business gig, The Blaze reported. But the lesbian couple filed a complaint with the state, accusing the shop owners of discrimination.

Since, they’ve been hounded by vicious telephone calls and emails.

Some of those threats were shocking. One emailer wished for the couple’s children to fall ill. Another expressed hope that Mr. Klein should be shot and even raped, The Blaze reported.

And yet another wrote: “Here’s hoping you go out of business, you bigot.”

The couple said on top of that, their vendors were “badgered and harassed” into stopping all associations with the bakery.

This is what State supported “tolerance” looks like.

Somewhere there’s a balance of values. This isn’t it.