Oregon to Christian Bakers: Pay $135,000 by Monday or Face a Potential Lien on Your Home

by David French

Yesterday I wrote a piece about how Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) acted as investigator, prosecutor, judge, and jury as it pursued Aaron and Melissa Klein for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding (though they would happily serve gay customers for other requests.) Now, the same agency is donning its “enforcer” hat and is giving the Kleins until July 13 to pay the $135,000 damage award or face a potential lien on their house. BOLI’s spokesperson has the details:

We have asked that they get in touch with us by July 13th either to make a payment in full, or an arrangement for partial payment, or as they know, they can contact our agency and seek what is called a stay of enforcement.

According the Herbert Grey, the Kleins’ attorney, BOLI can deny a request for a stay, and if they do, then the Kleins have to seek relief from the Oregon Court of Appeals. This case is far from over, but the pressures on the Kleins are mounting rapidly. They face a six-figure liability, a broad gag order issued partially in response to their press interviews about the case (though BOLI has since emailed Media Matters to state that its order “does not mean that the owners are prohibited from talking about the case or their opposition to Oregon anti-discrimination laws.” To the best of my knowledge, however, BOLI has not amended the order to clarify its meaning), and now a short deadline to arrange for payment. The Kleins are understandably alarmed:

Aaron Klein: “It was just about somebody being upset, which I can understand, but 135 thousand dollars, really?”

He says it would financially ruin their family.

“Basically, the state of Oregon is saying we can kick you out of your house and make you homeless. They have no qualms about the fact that they’re doing this to my five kids as well.”

Again, a stay is possible, but these are extraordinary times when a Christian family faces financial ruin for refusing to help celebrate a lesbian wedding.

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