The Kleins have been the harsh victims of a complaint filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. The complaint was filed by a lesbian couple who had requested that the store bake a "wedding cake" for their same-sex ceremony in 2013. The Kleins declined the request, saying that participation in such a ceremony conflicted with their religious beliefs. They stated that they could not celebrate something that God has declared to be sinful.
The Christian couple were charged with violating the Oregon Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on "sexual orientation." Oregon labor officials subsequently found the Kleins guilty of violating the state law, and Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough affirmed that ruling.
Now Judge McCullough has imposed an exceedingly egregious fine of $135,000 against the Kleins for the "emotional, mental, and physical suffering" experienced by the lesbian couple. They claimed that they had been "mentally raped" by the Kleins' action, and had
experienced 88 different negative symptoms, including "high blood pressure, impaired digestion, weight gain, and an acute loss of confidence."
In actuality, Aaron and Melissa Klein have endured great emotional, mental, and physical suffering for daring to stand by their Christian convictions. They were forced to shut down their retail business as a result of a community boycott against their business and all their supplier and vendors. They were the nonstop target of a vicious hate campaign of picketing, verbal attacks, and personal threats from homosexual activists. Now the abusive backbreaking fine imposed by the state may force them into personal bankruptcy.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, sharply criticized the judge's outrageous action. "The State of Oregon has given new meaning to shotgun weddings. You WILL be forced to participate in same-sex ceremonies and you WILL be forced to violate your religious beliefs."
"The Oregon Attorney General believes that the Kleins need to be 'rehabilitated' and 'reeducated' regarding their religious views on marriage," Perkins pointed out. "Government re-education regimes like this are more reminiscent of fascism than democracy."
"This fine is not going to be coming out of our business assets--the business has already been shuttered," says
Aaron Klein. "They want to take our house. They want to put us out on the street. They won't be satisfied until we lose everything."
"It's been interesting to see the hostility toward us for simply abstaining from what we thought was wrong," Klein continues. "Jesus said we shouldn't be surprised, though, when the world hates us, because it hated Him first. The Lord can and will deliver us through this. Even if the state throws the book at us, and we lose everything, we will be OK."
Supporters of the Kleins established a GoFundMe account to raise funds to help the couple pay the enormous fine imposed against them, and assist the
personal finances of a family that includes five children. The crowdfunding campaign raised over $109,000 in less than eight hours.
However, homosexual rights activists succeeded in convincing GoFundMe managers to shut down the account. Officials at GoFundMe issued a preposterous statement that the campaign on behalf of the Kleins violated a policy against support of "heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts."