WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Thursday, Aaron and Melissa Klein, formerly of Sweet Cakes by Melissa at the center of a national religious freedom case, will appear before the Oregon Court of Appeals for oral arguments. The Kleins lost their Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery over the course of litigation on the case and were ordered to pay $135,000 for declining to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. Thursday will mark the first time the couple will have an official day in court. Until this week, they have been at the mercy of a patently biased administrative body which even imposed a gag order on them restricting their First Amendment freedoms.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"The Kleins are finally getting their day in court to defend what every American is constitutionally guaranteed, the freedom to not only hold religious beliefs but live by them, including in how they make a living.
"This couple believes in the truth that millions of Americans hold to, that marriage is between a man and a woman. They only ask that they be left free to follow that belief as they live as they always have — in a quiet, peaceable manner, running their daily lives.
"A government able to bankrupt people for standing by their deepest beliefs is a government of unbridled power and a threat to everyone's freedom. The heavy hand of the state must not be used to punish and fine people for merely seeking to live according to their beliefs. There has to be space in our society for people who hold differing views.
"It is my hope that the Oregon Court of Appeals will do the right thing and rule on the side of the freedom of religion, which is the freedom to follow one's religious beliefs in daily life.
"If we are to protect people like the Kleins going forward, protections for those who dissent from the Court's view of marriage must be enacted in Oregon and nationwide," concluded Perkins.
Family Research Council's Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, released the following statement:
"Despite what you will hear from most 'reporting'on this issue, the Kleins were happy to provide any item from their shop to gay and straight customers alike. The Kleins welcomed all customers to come and buy from the bakery. The only thing the Kleins declined to do was become part of a same-sex wedding ceremony; they didn't want to be forced -- by any customer -- to create a cake for a same-sex wedding in violation of their beliefs. This is true of any event contradicting their faith -- such as a celebration of a divorce -- for which they would also decline to create a cake," Weber concluded.
For more on the Kleins case and other Americans who have been targeted because of their beliefs, go to www.freetobelieve.com.