Christian baker to be forced into bankruptcy for refusing to participate in same-sex wedding

I’ve written numerous times about this case over the last two years (original report above), but this just in today: “Same-sex marriage decision forces Christian bakers’ bankruptcy.”

The bakery owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, were happy to serve gay people at their store. The Kleins simply did not wish to participate in a same-sex wedding. When they declined a request to participate in such a wedding, they got sued. As a result, they had to close their bakery. And now, a recent court decision threatens to bankrupt them as well. From USA Today:

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa will have to pay up to $75,000 per person who filed the complaint, which means the same-sex couple could be awarded up to $150,000.

After the decision came down against them yesterday, the owners of the bakery posted the following on their Facebook page:

Even though it seems as if we are being thrown into the Lions den. We will continue to stand for the Lord, our faith will not waiver. We fully trust in our heavenly father. He is able to deliver us from this, but even if He doesn’t we are not going to compromise on God’s truth in order to appease man.

These stories are getting more and more common, but I am still not used to them. I cannot believe that this is happening. This couple got sued for following their Christian faith, and now their consciences are being trampled by the coercive power of the state.

This is a clear violation of their first amendment rights, but no court has yet recognized that. Let’s hope and pray that changes very soon.

20 Responses to Christian baker to be forced into bankruptcy for refusing to participate in same-sex wedding

  1. Dan Kreider February 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    Luke 6:23 – “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven! For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”

    • Tim Elliott February 5, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      Amen!

  2. James Bradshaw February 4, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    The right to the “free exercise of religion” is not absolute. Those who worship the god of the Aztecs do not have a “right” to sacrifice humans. Muslim women can wear a face-concealing burqa, but not when taking a photo for a state ID. All rights end when the rights of the other begins.

    These bakers were not being forced to “participate” in a wedding. They were asked to provide the exact same product to a gay couple that they provided to interfaith heterosexual couples, divorced couples and every other type of customer who entered their establishment previously. They were not a religious establishment. They were not a non-profit organization. No one was asking them to change or modify their product in any way.

    in terms of the fines, it is only a possibility at this point, at least according to the Oregon Bureau. Despite that, the Kleins have, in fact, sued the Oregon Bureau of Labor for $200,000 for enforcing the Equality Act.

    As I have said before, though, if it had been me, I would have simply taken my business elsewhere.

    • Mike Lynch February 4, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

      James, sorry, but you’re ridiculous.

      • James Bradshaw February 4, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

        Mike, I’m always willing to revise my ideas, but you need to offer something that resembles an aargument.

        • Jonathan Bee February 5, 2015 at 4:55 am #

          what about a gay caterer that refuses to cater for a church for their anti gay marriage conference?!!

          also gay people keep talking about “love” how is bankrupting people you disagree with love?

          • James Bradshaw February 5, 2015 at 9:09 am #

            Jonathan, a gay caterer can’t refuse services to anyone, either. The law cannot favor anyone in this regard.

            In regard to your other question, I could ask the same thing. How is depriving someone of their livelihood being charitable? Yet, many still oppose ENDA laws that protect the jobs of gay employees.

    • James Stanton February 4, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      James,

      There is no right not to be inconvenienced. If denied based on religious belief a gay couple can simply go down the street to a supportive baker.

      That being said… I don’t care for the comparison to being thrown into the Lion’s Den. That’s not what this is. There is a legal issue here and it concerns the supremacy of this right to equal treatment over the freedom to discriminate based on religious principles.

      • James Bradshaw February 5, 2015 at 9:20 am #

        Mr Stanton, so does freedom of religious expression trump every other right? If not, what are its reasonable limits?

        I agree that freedom of conscience should be considered, but so do the potentially competing claims of the rights of others. These aren’t easy questions for the law to answer.

        • James Stanton February 5, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

          I don’t think so and I’m not sure what the reasonable limits are. I do think that this particular case is an example in which religious preference should be respected.

          If you support this why wouldn’t you support forcing traditional marriage supporting clergy to provide marriage services to homosexuals?

          • James Bradshaw February 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

            JS, there is a difference between a for-profit entity and a solely religious organization (such as a church). To suggest you can force a clergy member to perform any wedding is as absurd as saying you can force them to perform a baptism ( or to give someone Communion).

            There are sharp delineations in the tax code and laws for defining these entities.

            Look, let’s compromise: if a non-religious business (like that of the Kleins’) wants to deny its services to someone – anyone – under the guise of religious expression or freedom of conscience, then fine. All the law should ask is that they display some evidence that they have been consistent in the application of their religious principles. Think of what one must do if one wishes to apply for conscientious objector status. You can’t have a long string of violent crimes in your past and then suddenly claim to be a pacifist because you want to opt out of military conscription.

            Likewise, if the Kleins wish to provide proof that they have rejected (or have sought to reject) to provide services to other customers who did not fit their religious ideals, then sure … they get to opt out of providing a concoction of flour and sugar to gay couples.

            However, we both know that these businesses have never been the slightest bit troubled by providing services to other heterosexual couples that would not be serviced in the church they attend. Have they provided services to interfaith couples or heterosexual couples on their second or third marriage? Have they provided cakes for Jewish ceremonies (or Wiccan or Mormon)?

            I’d bet they have.

            • James Stanton February 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

              I think those are some good points. I don’t know that the moral ground is all that solid here. However, most service providers (bakers, caterer’s etc) aren’t inquiring into the sin history and lifestyles of their customers. These particular would-be clients are outright telling them something to which they have a religious objection.

    • Craig Northwood February 6, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      James,

      In principle I partially agree with your point. However, if I went into a shop owned by a Jew or Muslim and demanded that I should be able to buy bacon there, when I would be likely to find a dozen other establishments within a mile where I could buy it, would I be justified in filing a lawsuit against them? Or would common sense simply dictate that I simply go somewhere else?

      The concept of “human rights” which is so widely touted in these situations can only be based on one of two things- it is EITHER based on an arbitrary, groundless set of commonly agreed statements (which, having no external or objective basis cannot be said to be truths in the same way that either logical or scientific proofs are established, and are therefore based on nothing but opinion and consensus) OR they are based on the statement, proclamation or commandments of some kind of God/ Gods all powerful creator or theistic entity, and are therefore not within our scope to alter or choose- the only choice we would have is whether or not to obey them, with due consideration for the implications of our decision.

      The bakery owners are clearly of the belief that God, as revealed in the bible, is the true God. That is the basis of their decision, and if you choose to believe that there is no God (or a religious basis) for morality, equality and truth, you will find it impossible to argue logically for an alternative basis for the belief that the lawsuit against them is objectively “right”.

  3. dr. james willingham February 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    It is a grief to read the above. In my opinion the Judge or judges along with those who brought the lawsuit ought to be indicted and tried on a violation of the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. Seeking to deprive the couple of their livelihood is a crime; it is treason to seek the deprivation of people’s rights, and the last I heard such a crime involved a 5 year sentence and/or 80,000 in fines. Sooner or later, we are going to have to wake up to the reality that the folks who run things from behind the scene must be investigated, indicted, found guilty, if the evidence warrants it, and sent to prison. Soon they shall attach prison sentences to our supposed violation of what they perceive to be the rights of the homosexuals.

    • Ryan Davidson February 5, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Perhaps you would be so kind as to cite the relevant section of the United States Code?

  4. Dal Bailey February 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    This couple started a business which sooner or later would have people come through the door to buy a wedding cake. But like one said above “They should have been refusing to serve gays AT THE FIRST SALE.

    Anything else is being hypocritical.

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