We often hear that same-sex marriage “won’t hurt you” or your beliefs, but the signs are that it does, and will. Conscientious beliefs are increasingly under assault as laws change in more states, but even without altering marriage law in a particular state citizens can be under pressure from the new ideological environment.
Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein had no problem doing business with Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman until the day in February 2013 that the lesbian couple asked Sweet Cakes by Melissa to make them a wedding cake.
That was a request the Christian owners decided they could not meet. So, instead of going to another business that would oblige them, Cryer and Bowman laid a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which decided earlier this year that the Kleins were in breach of the state’s Equality Act of 2007, designed to protect LGBT persons from discrimination.
They face a fine in excess of $150,000, which they say would bankrupt them and their five children, and they are appealing the decision, reports The Daily Signal.
Ironically, at the time they were found guilty of discrimination the state itself still had an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, adopted by a large majority of voters in 2007. It wasn’t until months later, May 19, 2014, that a federal judge would declare Oregon’s amendment unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages.
The state was in breach of its own anti discrimination law, Aaron Klein points out. In any case a year earlier he thought he was “well within” his legal rights to decline the service. The existence of the marriage amendment in 2013 suggests they have good grounds to appeal, but publicity has made them targets of abuse and damaged their business, so they recently closed their shop and are running their business from an in home bakery.
Similar cases noted by The Daily Signal: