On Thursday, The Daily Signal published an article about Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Commissioner Brad Avakian ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, Christian bakers who had refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, to pay the couple $ 135,000 for "emotional" damages and issuing a gag order against the Kleins.
On Monday, Slate published an article criticizing The Daily Signal's coverage headlined "No, Oregon Did Not 'Gag' That Anti-Gay Bakery."
While that's a great, provocative headline, Slate's headline is simply not true.
In fact, the Kleins are now legally required, as a result of the order issued Thursday, "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," as The Daily Signal's reporter Kelsey Harkness wrote in her article Friday.
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern writes:
Rather than fine the Kleins further, [Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad] Avakian wrote that the couple must 'cease and desist' stating that Sweet Cakes would continue to turn away gay couples. As individuals, the Kleins may declare that Oregon's anti-discrimination law should not protect gay couples. But when speaking publicly about the future of their own business, they must not opine that they will maintain a policy of anti-gay discrimination.
But here's what Stern overlooks: Commissioner Avakian recites in detail the statements the Kleins made that he is upset about and that his agency claims violate Oregon law. What led to his "cease and desist" order is the key to understanding why it's accurately called a gag order that prevents the Kleins from speaking about their faith and their intent to "stay strong" and fight this harassment by the Oregon state government.
For example, on page 23 and 24 of Avakian's Order, his agency claims that the following statements in an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network on Sept. 2, 2013 violate Oregon law:
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90 Miles From Tyranny