Special Bulletin 11
July 16, 2015
These two articles from the Family Research Council update the current status of the Klein’s fight and the new gag order trying to prevent them from speaking out. The strategy against them is strategy against all of us.
Oregon Flexes Its Muzzle with Gag Order
by Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council
July 6, 2015
No wonder people like Cokie Roberts don't think same-sex "marriage" has "tangible, identifiable victims." The victims are being ordered not to talk about it! That's the latest twist in the long and bitter suit against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the young Christian bakers who turned down a lesbian wedding cake order in Oregon -- and have been paying for it ever since.
As prepared as the Kleins were to hear their $135,000 fine had been finalized, nothing could have prepared them for the Bureau of Labor's second punishment: forced silence. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian decided to put his own stamp on the punishment by ordering the parents of five "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, or denied to..."
His order made the Kleins speechless all right -- but not for long. Once the shock wore off, Aaron and Melissa made it quite clear that they wouldn't stop speaking out about their case, no matter what the government threatened. "We will not give up this fight," Aaron wrote on their Facebook page, "and we will not be silenced."
As FRC has warned, if our freedom of religion can be trampled, the freedom of speech won't be far behind. Aaron and Melissa's attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom's Anna Harmon was stunned. "Now he has ruled that the Kleins' simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American's right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government-sanctioned ideas."
Although Avakian's gay activism is no secret, his final ruling is profoundly vicious -- accusing the Kleins, among other things, of devaluing "humanity for all of us." When Aaron and Melissa explained that they couldn't participate in a same-sex ceremony, "their act was much more than the denial of a product," the commissioner claimed. "It was, and is, a denial of [the couple's] freedom to participate equally. It is the epitome of being told there are places you cannot go, things you cannot do... or be. [The Kleins'] conduct was a clear and direct statement that [this couple] lacked an identity worth being recognized."
Keep in mind that the state of Oregon didn't allow same-sex "marriage" when the Kleins declined to make the cake. Avakian blamed the Kleins for inflicting more than 100 emotional and physical problems on the couple, including everything from "weight gain" and "distrust of men" to "feeling mentally raped." As Fox News's Todd Starnes said, that must have been quite a cake! If anyone has suffered personally, it's the Kleins -- who not only lost their business, but their sense of personal safety. While the plaintiffs said they "fear being harassed," Aaron and Melissa actually were -- with death threats, property damage, and now, a government gag order. "We were just running our business the best we could -- following the Lord's example," Melissa told Todd. "I'm just blown away by the ruling." So are most legal experts. An order of this magnitude is not only unprecedented, but unconstitutional.
As the smoke starts to clear from the Supreme Court's marriage ruling, this story makes an important point: the Left's goal is not, nor has it ever been, marriage. What every American should have seen at the Supreme Court was not a finish line, but the beginning of a fierce struggle for our basic freedoms. That's why legislation like Senator Mike Lee's First Amendment Defense Act is so urgent. We need to stop the federal government from doing what some states already are: punishing the rights of Christians in the name of "tolerance."
Fortunately, this young, God-fearing couple have no intentions of going quietly. "This man has no power over me," Aaron said. "He seems to think he can tell me to be quiet... Unfortunately, he's doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back." You can fight back too. Contact your congressman and senators and ask them to support FADA and people like Aaron and Melissa, whose only crime is exercising the freedoms America just celebrated.
Bakers Take Path of Yeast Resistance
by Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council
July 7, 2015
What part of "cease and desist" don't conservatives understand? Apparently, a lot -- or so the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry would like us to believe. After four days of negative PR, officials are in full-blown damage control over Commissioner Brad Avakian's $135,000 ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein, which included a decree that the Christian bakers no longer speak publicly about the decision.
When news of the order went viral, Oregon officials tried to refute the story by recruiting their friends on the Left to explain it away. Slate obliged, posting a lengthy column on how the gag order wasn't, in fact, a gag order. With verbal gymnastics that could have medaled in the London Games, the site took the Daily Signal to task for "misreading" the commissioner's threat. That was a difficult assignment for Slate, given that on more than one occasion, Avakian insists that the Kleins must "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..."
In the commissioner's defense, Stern pointed to an email from the far-Left Media Matters as proof that the order had been "absurdly exaggerated." Stern lifts a few sentences to make his point -- ignoring several pages of Avakian's case for the Kleins' forced silence in the process.
Of course, attorneys from Fox News to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) had already studied the text and concurred: anything Aaron and Melissa said about their case could be declared an act of "discrimination." And while both sides agree that the commissioner's language was intentionally vague, its potential to do damage is not. As Daily Signal pointed out, "[Mark] Stern either didn't read in depth the interviews of the Kleins that Avakian relied on -- or didn't care how flimsy Avakian's case was..."
With all due respect to Slate and Media Matters, who do liberals think people are going to believe? The government officials caught colluding against the Kleins who have Twitter accounts full of gay activism -- or a panel of legitimate legal experts? Unfortunately, this is how bullies operate -- they push until they're challenged. Well, Avakian has been challenged, and now he's forced to "clarify" statements that were clearly meant to intimidate. But regardless of what the commissioner did or didn't mean, these parents of five have no intentions of backing down. "This is not a settled issue," Aaron told me on last night's "Washington Watch" radio show. "We're going to continue to speak for God's truth."
And they'll have plenty of company doing so. In Colorado, Masterpiece Cakes's Jack Phillips -- part of the growing club of persecuted, natural marriage-believing Christians -- is taking his turn in court. Jack, who got a head start on the Kleins by turning down a same-sex wedding job in 2012, has watched his case wind through the state's Civil Rights Commission (where he was charged with "discrimination") to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Like the Kleins, Phillips is represented by ADF, who this morning argued that "The right to be free from compelled speech applies to everyone, not just those who hold the 'right' views in the eyes of society."
Interestingly enough, the same state that found Jack guilty just vindicated a Denver baker who objected to putting a Bible verse on a cake. If Marjorie Silva could turn down an order based on "her standards of offensiveness," why not Jack? All Christians are asking for is the same accommodation for their views that liberals already enjoy. Instead, the Left seems intent on punishing what it claimed to champion: diversity. And in the process, they're doing an incredibly effective job answering the question -- how will same-sex "marriage" affect you?
These articles were originally published on
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Tony Perkins is Family Research Council’s fourth and longest serving president, joining the organization in August of 2003. Described as a legislative pioneer by the national media, Tony Perkins has established himself as an innovative pro-life and pro-family policy and political leader since first being elected to office in 1996.
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