After getting hit with a financially-crushing $135,000 fine Thursday for their decision to not bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, the owner of the Oregon "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" bakery has a dire warning for Americans.
"For years, we've heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody," Aaron Klein said in an interview with The Blaze. "I'm here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people."
Aaron and his wife Melissa are required to immediately write a $135,000 check to the lesbian couple they refused to bake a wedding cake for, Rachel Cryer-Bowman and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, to compensate them for emotional damages.
Aaron Klein says that Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian's order requires the couple to use "personal property" rather than only business assets to pay the vast sum and that it "has the potential to financially ruin" the family of five. Avakian "knew that full well going into this," said Klein.
"This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage," Avakian wrote in the preliminary ruling he finalized Thursday. "It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal."
Avakian's order demands that the Kleins must "cease and desist" from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs, the Daily Signal reported.
"The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] 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 effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights," the Kleins wrote on their Facebook page. "According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech."
Aaron Klein echoed the sentiment in his interview with The Blaze, saying the case "flies in the face of the Constitution at every level."
Avakian "wants to silence anyone who opposes his point of view," Aaron Klein told The Blaze.
Avakian "has ruled that the Kleins' simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful," the Kleins' lawyer, Anna Harmon told the Daily Signal. "This is a brazen attack on every American's right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas."
"Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to 'rehabilitate' those whose beliefs do not conform to the state's ideas," Harmon added.
Aaron Klein said he thinks Avakian's timing, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, isn't coincidental.
"Christians, get ready to take a stand," Klein told The Blaze. "Get ready for civil disobedience."
Aaron Klein also issued his own warning for Avakian: "Unfortunately, he's doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back."