Bigotry is defined as “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own”. The term “bigot” has been largely heaped upon people of faith by supporters of same-sex marriage. Anyone not supporting the redefinition of marriage is somehow seen as a “bigot” or as “intolerant”. This shame tactic is increasingly being implemented in order to bend a person’s will and attack their belief system. This tactic is not limited to militant supporters of an ideal, it is also being used openly in government offices throughout the country.
According to a recent Fox News Article, the commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry, Brad Avakian, has levied and upheld a crippling fine of $135,000 on a small family run bakery because of their refusal to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Aaron and Melissa Klein run “Sweet Cakes”, a small bakery that operates out of Oregon. In 2013 the couple refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding as it fundamentally stands against their beliefs that a marriage is between a man and a woman.
The same sex couple, Rachel & Lauren Cryer, filed a complaint with the state in 2013. Since then some LGBT supporters and activists have come at the Klein family full force, boycotting them and threatening to boycott other businesses. The Klein family have also had to deal with death threats and vandalism. They were forced to close their storefront, move their business to their house, and install a security system. Meanwhile, Oregon is awarding the $135,000 fine to the Cryer's for "emotional damages".
In Rachel & Lauren’s complaint to the state in 2013, they supplied a long and frivolous list of damages based on them not receiving a cake from this particular bakery. The list includes: “Forced to borrow money, forced to sell possessions, dislike of going to work, distrust of men, irritability with family and friends, loss of appetite, weight gain, nervous appetite, moodiness, insult to dignity, felt mentally raped, horror, apprehension over possible physical confrontation with respondent, loss of opportunity for bonding with infant, ridicule..etc.
Rachel & Lauren could have used this opportunity to show tolerance to the fact that the Klein’s have long standing traditional beliefs that differ from their own and gone to a different bakery for the cake. The state of Oregon could also have shown that tolerance of a person’s ideals and lifestyle works both ways. Instead, Oregon called for the systematic destruction of the Klein’s business, family, and religion.
The outrageous and unprecedented fine of $135,000 could in effect close down the small business for good and ruin the family’s finances. The unconstitutional actions of Oregon are set to thrust this family into poverty and severely hamper the future of their children. “It’s coming straight from our personal assets. That would be our vehicle, our house, the money that should be used to feed our kids”, Klein stated according to a recent Blaze article.
In addition to the trampling of the couple’s beliefs and constitutional rights, Brad Avakian and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry are also trying to silence them. The rogue commissioner of the BOLI issued a gag order for the couple to not talk about their religious beliefs. “The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [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 be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation”, Avakian wrote.
The Klein’s responded by posting on their Facebook page, “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights. According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.” They have vowed to fight on.
The 1st Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”
By trying to rob citizens of their rights to freedom of speech and the freedom to exercise their religion, Brad Avakian and the Oregon BOLI are in effect ignoring the constitution and acting in a rogue manner, enacting laws and punishments as they see fit.
Brad Avakian justifies his action by stating, “Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society, the ability to enter public places, to shop and dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry”. Brad’s statement highlights a growing hypocrisy in where bigotry is only permissible if used to further a socially progressive cause.
This country, its citizens, and its politicians must not forget that America held strong stances and beliefs about the sanctity of marriage until Obama and the Supreme Court decided to declare the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional in 2013 despite it having overwhelming support when signed into law in 1996.
Now that marriage has been redefined by five members of the Supreme Court, supporters of traditional marriage and people of faith are being targeted as criminals for standing up for their long held beliefs.
What would you do if you and your family were attacked for your beliefs? We would love to hear your thoughts.