Kleins await ruling from appeals court

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Sweet Cakes closed 620x300A husband and wife who battled Oregon officials over their religious rights are awaiting a decision from the state appeals court. 

The case of Aaron and Melissa Klein dates back to 2013, when they refused to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple at their Gresham bakery.

Oregon has a non-discrimination law that favors the lesbians, and a legal fight concluded with a $135,000 fine levied by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries for "emotional damage" caused by the Kleins' refusal.

The story of the Kleins made national headlines, introducing many Americans to the plight of bakers, florists, photographers and others ensnared by homosexuals who objected to their stance on normal marriage. 

Three years later, First Liberty Institute attorney Ken Klukowski says the Kleins are fighting for their First Amendment rights before the Oregon Court of Appeals, where they are appealing the bureau's decision and fine. 

The lesbian couple was mocked last year when it was learned they claimed 178 alleged damages they suffered after the Kleins refused their order.

Aaron and Melissa Klein 1 (Oregon bakers)In a column about the fine, Dr. Michael Brown noted those purported damages include"hysteria," "distrust of men," and "loss of opportunity for bonding with infant," among many more. 

The Kleins are also challenging an edict from the state that attempted to stop them from making media appearances to defend their decision.

Left-wing media claimed a gag order was not imposed on the Kleins' ability to discuss the legal case. But that claim was shot down by attorney Hans von Spakovsky. He noted that the Kleins' media appearances led to the attempted gag order by Brad Avakian, the labor bureau's commissioner, due to their public claims that they refused to follow the state law. 

Klukowski points out that Avakian (pictured at right) suggested the Kleins broke the law – while the case was still pending.

Brad Avakian (OR bureaucrat)Avakian claimed that everyone is "required to obey the law without any special exceptions in that it was the business of the government to rehabilitate people like this," the First Liberty attorney recalls.

While a homosexual rights group named Basic Rights Oregon supported prosecution of the Kleins, an investigation by The Daily Signal found that Basic Rights contributed to Avakian's re-election campaign, and Avakian paid hundreds of dollars to support the organization, too.

The same investigation, using a Freedom of Information request, learned that Basic Rights and employees at the labor bureau were communicating about the Daily Signal investigation that was digging into both organizations. 

Avakian, meanwhile, is now running for Oregon secretary of state. 

There is no timetable for the appeals court to make a decision. Regardless of the ruling, it will likely move up to the Oregon Supreme Court.


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