Monday, January 20, 2014

Labor Department Rules Against Oregon Cake Maker

by Bethany Monk, CitizenLink: Oregon investigators say a Christian cake maker acted unlawfully when he declined to use his creative expression to support a same-sex ceremony last year.

Aaron Klein, of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, told a couple that because of his beliefs about marriage, he would not be able to make them the cake. One of the women filed suit claiming he violated the Oregon Equity Act.

Aaron’s wife, Melissa Klein, posted a Facebook update Friday responding to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI):

To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands.e still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands.

The couple owns and operates the bakery together. In the fall, they closed down the company’s physical location after activists launched boycotts and threatened other vendors who did business with the Kleins. They now operate the company solely online.

In November, Friends of Religious Freedom (FRF) filed an initiative that would let voters approve protections for business owners of faith. The initiative would mean that those with deeply held religious beliefs would be exempt from supporting same-sex ceremonies.

“We are deeply concerned that even Oregon elected officials are becoming hostile toward religious freedom,” said FRF Spokeswoman Teresa Harke.

She noted comments state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian previously made about the situation. “The goal is never to shut down a business,” he said. “The goal is to rehabilitate.”

Harke found this concerning.

“It is very troubling that Oregon elected officials believe people of faith or with conscientious objections need to be ‘rehabilitated,’” she said.

Meanwhile, the Kleins will need to settle — if not the labor department may pursue charges via an administrative judge, according to The Oregonian.

Melissa wrote on her Facebook page that she and Aaron will know what fines they face within 60 days.

“I can’t say much more but will update when I’m able to,” she wrote. “Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and powerful. I know he has a plan.”

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