Melissa and Aaron Kline are Christians who owned Sweet Cakes bakery. Their Oregon-based bakery was ordered by the state to pay a $135,000 fine plus interest for "emotional damages" to a gay couple who wanted a wedding cake that they refused to make.
The Kline's hold the religious conviction that same-sex marriage is not Biblical. They felt that making a wedding cake for a lesbian marriage violated their conscience and deeply held convictions that the Bible is the ultimate authority about how they should live their life and run their business. Oregon law, however, apparently does not compliment their religious beliefs. The fine was levied on the Klines on July 2, 2015. They plan to appeal the ruling.
The Klines had refused to pay the fine for six months, with interest accruing at 9 percent. Finally, upon the advising of their attorney. Aaron Kline wrote a check on Monday that totaled $136.927.07. The money is being held in escrow until the ruling on the appeal. The appeal date is set for next year.
In addition to the fine, the Klines also had a gag order put on them, demanding that they abstain from speaking publically about their refusal to bake the same-sex wedding cake. The order specifically states that they are to, "cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation."
The gag order was signed by Brad Avakian of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry, and also an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQIA community
Avakian has said, "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," and that, "The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate."
Oregon was one of the first states to make same-sex unions and partnerships legal, but apparently, same-sex marriage was not allowed until the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. A 2007 state law also offers special protections to gays, bisexuals, lesbians and transgenders regarding employment, housing and public accommodations. That ruling also prohibits discrimination to potential customers of those orientations. Since the Klines' case originated in 2013, the outcome will certainly be interesting.
Oregon and the rest of the US do not yet allow polygamy, but some citizens in the nearby state of Utah have been pushing that envelope for a while now. Oregon is also one of five states that also allows physician-assisted suicide.