Freedom of Religion Under Fire- Bakery Forced to Close

By Leisa Crawford

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” 1st Amendment, U.S. Constitution 

freedom of religion

Aaron and Melissa Klein have been forced to close their bakery, and may have to declare bankruptcy over their refusal to bake a cake for a gay marriage. TPM Livewire photo

                                                                                                     

Freedom of Religion destroyed

In January, an Oregon Judge ruled against the religious freedoms of the owners of “Sweet Cakes,” an Oregon bakery, in violation of their religious civil rights, forcing them to provide their services for a same sex couples ceremonial union.

Citing discrimination,  Judge Alan McCullough ruled that the owners of the bakery, Aaron and Melissa Klein, had discriminated against a gay couple in 2013 by refusing to provide a wedding cake for their ceremony.

The judge disregarded the fact that the Kleins were Christians and that providing a cake to a same sex union ceremony violated their religious convictions.  – a freedom guaranteed to all American citizens and protected by the U.S. Constitution.

A Plea to the Court for Mercy

During the trial, Aaron Klein, stated that he believed providing a cake for a same sex wedding ceremony was a violation of his conscience and religious freedom.

Additionally, their attorney, Anna Harmon, noted that same sex marriage was not legal in Oregon at the time the plaintiffs requested the cake in 2013.

Perceived insults?

Last Friday, the judge who presided over the trial handed the Kleins a $135,000 judgment to be paid to the same sex couple.  The judge determined that $75,000 was to be issued to Rachel Bowman Cryer and $60,000 to her partner.

The plaintiffs claimed they had incurred high blood pressure, loss of confidence and “resumption of a smoking habit” due to the Klein’s decision to not honor their request.

The Kleins have 10 days to file objections and petition the fine.  Oregon state labor commissioner, Brad Avakian, has the authority to determine the final amount of the damages the they will be required to pay for exercising their religious civil rights.

Fund raiser taken down

During the court proceedings GoFundMe, a fund raising website, assisted the Kleins in raising $109,000.  However, after the verdict, GoFundMe was intimidated by a disgruntled individual, compelling them to promptly withdraw their support by removing the couple’s fund raising campaign from their website.

Donations to the Kleins can now be made through Samaritan’s Purse, Persecuted Christians USA 1(800) 528-1980.

Aaron and Melissa Klein have been forced to close their bakery.  They admit that the $135,000 fine could force them to file bankruptcy and lose their livelihood.