Same-sex "marriage" isn't about building homes -- it's about destroying them. Ask Aaron and Melissa Klein. The Christian bakers just learned that they stand to lose a lot more than their business for following their faith on marriage. According to the state, it could cost them their house too.
In another sickening twist, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is ordering the family to pay their $135,000 fine by next Monday or the state will put a lien on their home. Apparently, Commissioner Brad Avakian is so fiercely committed to his agenda that he's willing to put five kids on the street to prove it. Conform or go homeless. Sounds like tolerance to me! Like florist Barronelle Stutzman, whose home also hangs in the court's balance, the Kleins are finding out how low the Left is willing to sink to demand conformity on their redefinition of marriage.
The couple who sued Aaron and Melissa have already waited two years for a settlement -- now they can't wait two weeks? It doesn't add up -- unless, as Aaron suspects, the goal is harassment. "This is intimidation and bullying -- that's exactly what it is. They are trying to strong-arm me into handing over $135,000 to the two girls, and if I win on appeal, they will never pay me back." In an interview with Fox News's Todd Starnes, a spokesman for the Bureau was candid about the brutal lengths it will go to exact payment. "The letter informs them that if we do not hear from them, we may turn the matter over to the Department of Revenue, which can place a lien on real property." Of course, the spokesman offered, "they can also ask for a stay of enforcement while they pursue their appeal."
That's cold comfort, since the person who would decide the stay is the same wannabe despot who issued the fine in the first place: Brad Avakian. "The judge, jury, and executioner are all in one place," attorney Anna Harmon vented. "He is intent on using his office to root out thought and speech with which he personally disagrees." An office, one investigation shows, that was already ethically compromised. While the state was busy accusing Aaron and Melissa of bias, emails suggest their agencies were full of it. In emails, text messages, phone calls, and other documents, Daily Signal found a shocking amount of collusion between the Bureau and the largest LGBT activist group in the state: Basic Rights Oregon (BRO).
Avakian had already held a string of closed-door meetings with BRO leading up to Sweet Cakes's judgment. BRO was given exclusive access to the office's media strategies, heads-up on breaking news in the suit, in-person meetings about Sweet Cakes's case, and even behind-the-scenes talking points. If anyone should be under the microscope for prejudice, it's Avakian -- not Aaron and Melissa Klein. In the meantime, the government's overreach is only stoking the conservative fires. "Brad and his cohorts at BOLI have overstepped their [authority] in requiring me to cease and desist from my constitutional freedom," Aaron insisted. "I will fight them with every last breath I have."
In the meantime, the couple is drawing strength from the outpouring of support they've received. As tough as it's been on their family, Melissa says, it's an honor to be a voice for religious liberty. "It's making us stronger and emboldening us to stand up to this. Aaron and I are fighting for every American out there -- for their freedom. We are not backing down at all."