This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A top-flight legal team has joined the request to the U.S. Supreme Court to take further action on the violence done against an Oregon baker, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, by the state’s labor department.
That agency found that the bakery owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein, must violate their faith if someone asks them to create a cake for a same-sex “wedding.”
They refused, and the state fined them $135,000, putting them out of business. The state, after an earlier Supreme Court decision that faulted Colorado for its state hostility to Christianity in a similar case, later reduced the fine to $30,000.
But the Kleins have returned to the Supreme Court now, because of the ruling that the state has the authority to force them to violate their faith.
The legal team at Law and Freedom, also William J. Olson, P.C., has filed a brief also requesting the court take up the arguments again.
“The Kleins petitioners have suffered an egregious constitutional wrong committed by the Oregon BOLI. Petitioners have been sanctioned by the state of Oregon for acting in accordance with their deeply held and sincerely held religious belief that they cannot participate in a ‘same-sex’ marriage ceremony.”
The brief explained it is “undisputed” that the Kleins’ position is based on their belief that “same-sex” weddings violate God’s design for the institution.
“That view is not fabricated or novel or hateful, as may be alleged by some. Rather, it is based on a biblical understanding of the institution of ‘marriage’ that has endured throughout the world and throughout the generations since man has walked the earth.”
It’s only in the last few years that ideologically driven activists have made that demand of Christians.
“Historically, marriages have been a religious ceremony, and the notion that any government could compel a Christian to participate in an anti-Christian, anti-biblical, indeed pagan, religious ceremony is on its face an outrage.”
The brief explained, “There is no doubt that Oregon has demonstrated anti-religious hostility, but granting review on that issue would accomplish little or nothing, demonstrated by the fact that this court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop … has been followed by unceasing Colorado persecution of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips.”
And while another related case already is before the court, the justices refused to grant review to consider the Free Exercise issue of the disputes.
In this case, the Oregon law “punishes those that will not participate in or facilitate a same-sex ‘marriage,’ and does not meet the required test that the law regulate conduct “that the state is free to regulate.”
The brief says, “The First Amendment promises Americans that ‘Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise [of religion].’ Almost a century and a half ago, this Court recognized that the application of this ban required a clear understanding of the Framers’ meaning of ‘religion.’ This Court has recognized that meaning was best described by James Madison in his ‘Memorial and Remonstrance,’ where he ‘demonstrated ‘that religion, or the duty we owe the Creator,’ was not within the cognizance of civil government.’ … Thus, the Free Exercise Clause imposes a jurisdictional barrier on the powers of government.”
That limit, the brief explains, is violated by Oregon law.
“It imposes a civic duty on individuals in an area where their duty is only to God.”
WND reported the case involved a demand from Laurel Bowman-Cryer and Rachel Bowman-Cryer for the bakery to promote their same-sex event, which was declined.
One official with BOLI, Brad Avakian, publicly condemned the Kleins’ actions as “hate-filled” even before the dispute came before him as commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industry.
He imposed a fine of $135,000 on the couple, forcing them out of business.
Court documents reveal, “Avakian’s statements about the Kleins’ religious beliefs – which he uttered before BOLI had even completed” an investigation.
The Oregon case drew the ire of Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham.
“[Avakian] stated that the Kleins had ‘disobey[ed]’ Oregon law and needed to be ‘rehabilitate[d],'” Graham said at the time.
On Facebook, Graham wrote: “This is unbelievable! … Brad Avakian, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries Commissioner, upheld [the previous] ruling that the Kleins have to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 for a long list of alleged damages including: ‘acute loss of confidence,’ ‘high blood pressure,’ ‘impaired digestion,’ ‘loss of appetite,’ ‘migraine headaches,’ ‘pale and sick at home after work,’ ‘resumption of smoking habit,’ ‘weight gain,’ and ‘worry.’ Give me a break. In my opinion, this couple should pay the Kleins $135,000 for all they’ve been through!”
Graham said that even “more outrageous is that Avakian has also now ordered the Kleins to ‘cease and desist from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.”