A Christian couple who declined to make a cake for a same-sex marriage have been ordered not to publicly express their biblical stance.
The ruling, from Oregon state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, also confirms that Aaron and Melissa Klein must pay $135,000 in damages to the lesbian couple involved.
Responding to the decision, which can be appealed, Melissa said the couple will not give up or be silenced.
Faith in God
The ‘cease and desist’ order cites comments the couple have given about their Christian position and their faith in God.
In an interview with Christian TV channel CBN in 2013, Aaron Klein said he did not want to be part of a same-sex wedding – which he believes to be wrong. He also said he has faith in God who has “taken care of us up to this point and I’m sure he will in the future”.
During the same interview, a sign inside the couple’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa shop was shown which said the Kleins would “continue to stand strong”.
The following year, in an interview with Christian leader Tony Perkins, Aaron said that the couple wanted to stay firm in their beliefs.
The Oregon Bureau decided these remarks showed “clear intent to discriminate in the future”.
The order concluded that the Kleins must “cease and desist from denying” services “to any person based on that person’s sexual orientation”.
It also said they must stop publishing or causing to be published any communication that any service will be refused to anyone because of their sexual orientation.
The Kleins can take their legal case to the Oregon Court of Appeal and their lawyer said they wanted to “preserve their constitutional rights as much as they can”.
Freedom of speech
Writing on Facebook, Melissa said: “We have been charged with $135,000 in emotional damages”.
She added: “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech. We will NOT give up this fight, and we will NOT be silenced. We stand for God’s truth, God’s word and freedom for ALL Americans.”