Anti-Gay Oregon Bakery Coughs Up Check For $137,000, Because Bigotry Is Expensive
Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, has finally complied with a court order to pay $136,927.07 ($135k, plus accrued interest) to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, the lesbian couple they refused to bake a wedding cake for.
The order that they pay the fine was handed down in July 2nd by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.
Is that expensive? It sure is! $135k is a whole lot of money–certainly more than the cost of a wedding cake. But the cost of bigotry certainly needs to be prohibitively expensive. Ridiculously expensive, even. Because you know what’s even more ridiculous than Aaron and Melissa Klein having to pay $135k for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding? The fact that they refused to do so in the first place!
The fact is, we can’t have a society where businesses like Sweet Cakes by Melissa are allowed to be open only to a certain segment of the public. If you have a public business, you have to be open to the public. End of story. I couldn’t open up a public store and refuse to sell anything to Christians, just because I’m not a Christian. You may say “Well, it’s just a bakery! It’s not like it’s the only store for 100 miles that sells food and they’re refusing to sell food to one kind of people or something! This couple could have just gone to another bakery!”–but the thing is, where does it end? Do we allow Aaron and Melissa to get a pass, but not the only food store for 100 miles? The law doesn’t work that way.
For what it’s worth, pretty much every form of discrimination on the history of this country was “defended” with the Bible and religious beliefs, so that ship doesn’t really sail anymore.
Klein, of course, is still appealing the fine–but he can’t challenge it until he pays it. His lawyers have released a statement:
“Aaron and Melissa Klein are devoted to honoring God in every aspect of their lives, including how they conduct themselves in this litigation. Oregon law requires that as they appeal the Oregon government’s decision denying them their First Amendment rights, they must either pay the amount imposed by the Oregon government, or obtain a bond for the amount of the judgment. The least expensive option to stay in compliance with the law was to pay the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries funds that will be kept in a separate account until they prevail in their court appeal.”
Unfortunately for Aaron and Melissa, there is nothing in the First Amendment allowing them to discriminate against anyone else. I’ve checked several times, and somehow, it’s just not there!
I have a feeling they won’t prevail–and if that’s the case, this ought to be a lesson to people who think it’s OK to discriminate against anyone.