‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment’: $135,000 Fine for Not Baking a Cake
By now you know that a bakery has been fined $135,000 for not baking a cake for a lesbian wedding. Let that sink in. It’s not that the bakery refused to bake a cake; it only refused to bake a cake with a particular message on it.
Now we’re learning that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, may end up losing their home. “This is intimidation and bullying — that’s exactly what it is,” Melissa Klein told Todd Starnes of Fox news in a telephone interview. “They are trying to strong-arm me into handing over $135,000 to the two [lesbian] girls, and if I win on appeal — they will never pay me back.”
The court should have told the disgruntled lesbians to (1) find a different baker or (2) bake their own cake, especially since same-sex marriages were not legal in Oregon at the time Melissa Klein refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
As I’ve pointed out in numerous articles, no one should be forced to produce a product for something they do not believe in. You don’t need the Constitution to establish such a principle as a freedom. It’s in inalienable right neither to be conferred nor taken away by a government or its courts. Should a British loyalist that owned a printing company have been forced to print the Declaration of Independence?
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Companies refuse business every day in the United States for any number of reasons. A web designing company should not be forced to develop a website that promotes pornography. Such a principle protects everyone no matter what side a person may be on regarding a particular issue.
But when it comes to same-sex marriage, there is no room for disagreement. You will be made to care and comply . . . or else.
While the Supreme Court created a new right based on a sex act not found in the Constitution, there are several items in the Constitution that apply to those who do not want to violate their fundamental beliefs. They aren’t new freedoms; they are inherent freedoms.
The First Amendment protects a person’s beliefs concerning his or her religious beliefs. It also protects their right to free speech. That would include the right not to be forced to speak about what others want them to speak about. No one should be forced to be a mouthpiece for an opinion that is not theirs.
There is another constitutional principle that impacts the $135,000 fine leveled against Aaron and Melissa Klein – the Eighth Amendment:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
There it is – no excessive fines imposed. “In Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U.S. 86 (1909), the Supreme Court held that excessive fines are those which are ‘so grossly excessive as to amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law.’ . . . In other words, the government must not be able to confiscate such a large amount of property without following an established set of rules created by the legislature.”
The rules in the Sweet Cakes case were made up.
The Sweet Cake’s fine was capricious and punitive well beyond anyone’s definition of punishment — $135,000 for not baking a cake!