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Official who penalized ‘Sweetcakes’ accused of violating Constitution

From WND
By Bob Unruh | 30 April 2016

Bakery owners punished with $135,000 fine for refusing to violate Christian faith


An Oregon state official and his agency violated the U.S. Constitution in multiple ways when they assessed a $135,000 penalty against Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein for refusing to violate their Christian faith by creating a wedding cake for a lesbian duo, according to a new appeal filed in the long-running case.

“In America, you’re protected by the Constitution, and you’re also innocent until proven guilty,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, which is working on the Kleins’ case.

“Commissioner Brad Avakian decided the Kleins were guilty before he even heard their case. This is an egregious violation of the Kleins’ rights to due process. We hope the Oregon Court of Appeals will remedy this by reversing or dismissing the government’s case against the Kleins.”

Boyden Gray, former ambassador to the European Union and founding partner of Boyden Gray and Associates, noted the Constitution “guarantees the rights of free exercise of religion, free speech, and due process for every American.”

Gray also has joined in the Kleins’ case.

“We hope the Oregon Court of Appeals will defend the Kleins’ rights in accordance with state and federal law,” he said.

The case was prompted by the Kleins’ decision in 2013 not to make a cake for a lesbian duo. The couple had sold products to the women before and said they would again but declined to provide the cake because its message violated their religious beliefs.

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries responded with a lengthy and wide-ranging attack on the couple, ordering them to pay the $135,000 penalty and not to say “certain things about their religious faith.”

Officials overseeing the case even stated publicly that people with such beliefs need to be “rehabilitated,” according to court recrods.

Paul Kengor, Ph.D., has written “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” to explain the influence of “extreme-left radicals” on the American family.

The Kleins eventually closed their bakery.

Now they have appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals, arguing the state violated their constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech and due process.

Avakian, for example, before hearing the case against the Kleins, “made numerous public comments on social media and in media interviews revealing his intent to rule against them,” according to the brief.

“He stated that the Kleins had ‘disobey[ed]’ Oregon law and needed to be ‘rehabilitate[d].’ By failing to recuse himself from the case, while harboring a bias against the Kleins, Commissioner Avakian deprived the Kleins of their right to due process with a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal.”

The brief also contends the $135,000 penalty was gratuitous and excessive and that the agency order violates Oregon law, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. The complaint asserts the state agency violated constitutional prohibitions against compelled speech, free speech, due process and limits on the exercise of their religion.

Avakian did not respond to WND email and telephone requests for comment.

See the Big List of Christian Coercion compiled by WND, where officials, business owners and others have been bludgeoned by the law, activists – even judges – for their faith.

“This case addresses a BOLI final order misinterpreting Oregon’s public accommodations law, ORS 659A.403, which requires business to sell their goods and services to all persons, regardless of protected characteristics like sexual orientation. BOLI’s misapplication of Oregon law violates both the Oregon and United States Constitutions,” the brief argues.

“It unlawfully compels two law-abiding Oregon citizens, the Kleins, to devote their time and talents to create art destined for use in expressive events conveying messages that contradict their deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs,” it says.
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