Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Government Tells Christian Bakers They Can’t Speak Out about Same Sex Marriage

So, that didn’t take long.  
When same sex marriage advocates mock Christians who fear this will unravel religious freedom, they’re being disingenuous.  Remember the Kleins, who refused to use their God-given talents to make a cake celebrating a same sex wedding?  Well, they were fined $135,000 and — get this — given a gag order not to speak out against same sex marriage!
Heritage Foundation spokesman Hans von Spakovsky explains:
“They are being told that they can’t make any communication about their beliefs about sexual orientation in public accommodations that could in any way give anyone the indication that they might discriminate against them in their bakery business,” he states. “So that makes it pretty difficult [for them] to talk about their religious beliefs.”
And David French talks about the legal implications here:
On July 2, Brad Avakian, commissioner of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in damages for “emotional, mental and physical suffering” to a lesbian couple after the Kleins — owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa — declined to bake a cake celebrating their same-sex wedding. Avakian also ordered the Kleins 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 from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”
This gag order explicitly applied not just to formal business communications but also to the Klein’s statements to the press, such as, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.” (While the order itself is extraordinarily broad and explicitly targets the Kleins’ public comments about their case, BOLI has since put out a contradictory statement to Media Matters that the Kleins can still talk about the case and “their opposition to Oregon anti-discrimination laws.”)
While this ruling has binding legal force, it is critical to understand that it is not the result of a conventional court proceeding. Rather, it is the product of an administrative process that is unrecognizable to those schooled in the rules and procedures of criminal and civil courts. It is a process that is rife with conflicts of interest, ideological from the start, and often insulated from conventional and appropriate judicial review.
In states across the country, discrimination complaints against businesses like the Kleins’ originate not in court but instead in state agencies like BOLI or in various state “human rights commissions.” The agencies and commissions are often led by explicitly ideological politicians who make no pretense of impartiality, instead openly declaring that they’ll aggressively find and punish “discrimination” wherever it’s found. Discrimination complaints are then investigated by agency investigators, tried by agency prosecutors, and decided by agency “judges” — often interpreting and applying rules drafted by the agency itself. Americans have long recognized the inherent bias when one person functions as “judge, jury, and executioner.” In the administrative agencies of the deep state, a single, highly ideological entity can function as rulemaker, investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and enforcer.

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