Melissa and Aaron Klein are pushing back against the punishment imposed on them for simply living out their Christian faith, Charisma News reports.
The Kleins, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, are facing a $135,000 fine from their home state of Oregon for declining to create a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013.
After turning down the business, a complaint was filed before the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Last week, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a fine of $135,000 against the Kleins, ordering them to pay the lesbian couple for “emotional damages,” according to Fox News and The Daily Signal.
Labor Commissioner Avakian also imposed a gag order on the couple, mandating that they “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.
“This [decision] effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins stated on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon, we have neither freedom of religion nor freedom of speech.”
The Kleins have requested a stay on the fine to delay the order so they can begin the appeals process. Fox News also reported that if they Kleins don’t pay the fine by Monday, July 13, a lien could be imposed on their home. Melissa and Aaron also spoke during the American Pastors Network daily radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” on Thursday.