You’ve seen the story multiple times already: a Christian baker declines to cater a gay wedding, and gets sued in the process. The most publicized came out of Oregon, where the bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa chose not to bake a wedding for a same-sex wedding.
Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her mother visited Sweet Cakes planning to order a wedding cake. Bowman-Cryer had purchased a cake previously from the Kleins for her mother’s sixth wedding. Bowman-Cryer wanted to have the same cake she had purchased for her mother. That’s when Aaron Klein asked what the name of the bride and groom were.
“It’s two brides,” Bowman-Cryer said.
‘I think we may have wasted your time,” Aaron Klein told Bowman-Cryer. “We don’t do same-sex weddings.”
That answer led to a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and what happened as a result? As the Conservative Tribune reported, In 2013, Oregon Democrat Brad Avakian, as commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, put a Christian bakery out of business because its owners stood up for their religious convictions.
Sweetcakes by Melissa, owned by Melissa and Aaron Klein, was forced out of business by Avakian and the BOLI in 2013. Klein told Independent Journal Review that they were fined $135,000 and the state garnished their bank accounts to cover it. When all was said and done, Klein said that the state took $144,000 from them.
In the Red tsunami that swept the nation last Tuesday, however, justice was served to the politician behind putting the bakery out of business.
Fast forward to 2016 and Avakian, not unlike many of his fellow Democrats, got served a big slice of sweet justice. The people of Oregon ended his run for Oregon secretary of state in favor of Republican Dennis Richardson — the first time in 14 years the solidly blue state elected a Republican for state office.
Rob Kremer, an Oregon political analyst, told the Review: “I think people in Oregon were uncomfortable with Avakian’s stated objective of expanding the scope of the secretary of state’s office to broaden a progressive agenda. “While I don’t think the Sweetcakes by Melissa case was the only thing that turned off voters, it was certainly an example people could point to to show that he was abusing his authority.”
In addition to the voters, of all the major newspapers in the very blue state, not a single one offered Avakian its endorsement.
Aaron Klein told the Review: “His losing was a good sign that people don’t agree with somebody who is anti-constitutional to the nth degree. He never recognized our religious constitutional rights in his office. He just ignored them. And then he went off-kilter with ideas about what he wanted to do in his new office.”
Good riddance! And Sweet Cakes is still appealing their lawsuit to the Oregon Supreme Court, so they may rise again as Avakian falls out of employment.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]