It’s safe to say that July 2 was not one of the Kleins’ better days. Brad Avakian, a commissioner with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), issued a ruling that upheld the $135,000 fine for violating state public accommodation laws suggested by an administrative judge in April. The couple were told to pay the fine by July 13 or the state would place a lien on their home. Not only that, but Avakian added an astonishing wrinkle. He issued a gag order that effectively prevents the couple from saying much of anything about the case: “The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders Respondents 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 will be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”
The state insists that this is not a gag order, that it narrowly restricts what the Kleins may say about who they will serve. (Their bakery, Sweetcakes By Melissa, was shuttered in 2013 thanks to negative publicity surrounding the case, though the couple are trying to keep their business alive online.) But according to Grey, who is one of three lawyers working with the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to represent the Kleins, the couple have never stated an intention to discriminate, only stated why they took the stand they did in the instance that got them into trouble. Besides, the Kleins have no problem serving gay customers. They had previously served the lesbian woman who filed the complaint against them. They simply decline to make cakes for same-sex weddings, since to do so, in their view, would betray their Christian conscience. ...
Another statement that Avakian singles out seems more clear cut: “We don’t do same-sex marriage, same-sex wedding cakes.” Yet even here, Avakian is being willfully obtuse. The transcript of the radio interview in which Aaron Klein said this shows that he was merely recounting what he told the customer at the time he declined to bake her cake, not announcing his future intentions. ...
The state ultimately rejected the idea of additional damages for suffering caused by negative publicity, but its raising the possibility is cause for alarm. The state is essentially saying that if it charges you with violating the law, you can’t speak out against what’s happening to you without potentially subjecting yourself to increasingly harsh penalties—never mind that the Kleins are the ones who seem to have suffered the most from the attendant publicity. Their once-thriving bakery is closed, and Aaron Klein is trying to make ends meet and take care of their children by working as a trash collector. ...
It seems that government authorities in Oregon have no desire to be impartial in clashes over gay rights. In 2009, the mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, admitted he had lied about sleeping with a teenage boy when he was a 41-year-old city council member. Adams, who had been seeing the boy since he was 17, claimed that they hadn’t become physically intimate until the boy’s 18th birthday—when a sexual relationship would have been legal. The state government’s progressive image, however, was heavily invested in Adams as the first openly gay mayor of a major city. So the state attorney general conducted a brief investigation in which no witnesses were placed under oath, and no charges were filed. Adams survived two recall attempts and served out his term as mayor. That the state would only casually investigate statutory rape charges against a prominent gay politician—but spend years and considerable resources throwing the book at a small business for refusing to bake a cake—is telling.
Like Kafka's The TriaL,the process is the punishment.
In the discussion at Instapundit one progressive comment:
Oh, sure, they talk about "religious liberty". But you just TRY being an Aztec these days. It's not really the Aztec religion if they won't let you perform human sacrifice. Religious liberty, indeed.
and a response:
First time I've seen refusing to participate in a patron's ceremony compared to ripping someone's heart out of his chest.
Arm yourselves, the gay activists won't be happy until everyone in America shuts up, smiles sweetly, and says, "I love gay marriage."