• Christian Bakers Ordered To Pay $135,000 in Damages to Gay Couple, Issued Gag Order

    The owners of an Oregon bakery who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 were ordered Thursday to pay $135,000 “in damages for emotional and mental suffering resulting from the denial of service.”

    Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued the ruling  after the owners of Sweetcakes By Melissa, Melissa and Aaron Klein, were found guilty of discrimination based on sexual orientation earlier this year.

    The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) awarded $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering” after the lesbian couple claimed they were mentally raped.

    The lesbian couple suffered great angst, according to the BOLI. One of the women “felt depressed and questioned whether there was something inherently wrong with the sexual orientation she was born with.” They said she had “difficulty controlling her emotions and cried a lot.”

    The other woman “experienced extreme anger, outrage, embarrassment, exhaustion, frustration, intense sorrow and shame” simply because the Kleins refused to provide them with a wedding cake.

    Oregon law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    “This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

    Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins in the ruling, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

    “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

    Alicia Powe

    Staff Writer

    Alicia Powe is a staff writer for Daily Surge. She worked in the War Room of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee and served as a White House Intern during the George W. Bush administration. Alicia has written for numerous outlets, including Human Events, Media Research Center and Townhall.com.

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