WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Christian bakery owners from Gresham who have gained national attention for their refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding are among three nominees for a national award recognizing courage on their part.
The “Courage in the Face of Power | —Daniel Award” one of the Paul Weyrich Awards, was to be announced Feb. 25 — after press time for this issue of this newspaper — at a Washington, D.C. event sponsored by Philadelphia, Pa.-based Coalitions for America. It is a national non-profit policy organization founded by the late Paul Weyrich. The awards were to be presented immediately preceding the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Among the three nominees are Aaron and Melissa Klein, co-owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The others are Sharyl Attkisson, famed investigative journalist formerlywith CBS News, and Martha Boneta, lobbyist-turned-farmer and political activist.
As outlined on the front page of this issue of Christian News Northwest, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has determined that the Kleins violated state law when they in 2013 declined to bake the cake for the wedding ceremony; the Kleins, in turn, claim that their speech and religious freedom rights are being violated. The loss of business that the Kleins faced over the controversy has already forced closure of their Gresham storefront and the bakery was moved into their home. They also have experienced harsh opposition and death threats. The Kleins now face a March 10 hearing in Portland to determine how much in damages they will owe the same-sex couple. According to their attorneys, the Kleins could be ordered to pay as much as $200,000 in damages.
The Weyrich Awards are presented to leading media personalities, movement leaders and activists who have made significant contributions to advancing liberty, inspired by Weyrich, who was a prominent conservative leader
“The Weyrich Awards honor the real impact-makers in our nation and in the conservative movement,” said Colin Hanna, chair of Coalitions for America. “Those who have passion for the Constitution, the Framers’ concept of limited government, economic freedom and the rule of law. We look forward to honoring this year’s awardees, in the spirit of Paul Weyrich, one of the conservative movement’s most innovative leaders.”
During an appearance last fall at another conservative political event in the nation’s capital — the annual Values Voters Summit sponsored by the Christian lobbying organization Family Research Council — the Kleins received not only multiple rounds of applause but also a standing ovation that moved Melissa Klein to tears.