The owners of the Oregon bakery Sweetcakes by Melissa who were fined $135,000 last July 2 for discriminating against a lesbian couple in 2013 have denounced the supposed gag order that prevents them from speaking about the case.
"This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights. According to the state of Oregon, we have neither freedom of religion nor freedom of speech," said Melissa and Aaron Klein in a post on the bakery's Facebook page. The post has since been deleted.
Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) found the Kleins guilty of discriminating against lesbian couple Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer and fined them $135,000 as "compensatory damages for emotional, mental, and physical suffering."
The Kleins told Fox News that they were told that they have only until Monday, July 13, to pay the fine or a lien could be put on their home.
"This is intimidation and bullying—that's exactly what it is. They are trying to strong-arm me into handing over $135,000 to the two girls and if I win on appeal—they will never pay me back," one of the couple said.
But the Kleins will never have to put up the money as an online funding has collected more than $300,000 for them.
The American Family Association (AFA) has alerted its supporters to donate to the Kleins to a support fund set up on the ContinuetoGive website.
The funds donated have reached 220 percent of the $150,000 goal.
"Aaron and Melissa Klein aren't backing down from this calculated attack on their religious liberties and their freedom of speech," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "Now is the time for all Christians to stand together in support of the Kleins and their five children, letting them know that we support them, their stance for God's definition of marriage and their bravery in the face of this incredible ordeal."