An Oregon bureaucrat who waged political jihad against the owners of a Christian bakery was given the heave-ho by voters.
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian was defeated by Republican Dennis Richardson in his bid to be Secretary of State.
It’s the first time a Republican has been elected to a statewide office in Oregon since 2002.
So consider this – Avakian was too liberal for what is arguably one of the most liberal states in the country.
Avakian, a passionate advocate for the LGBTQIA crowd, was thrust into the national spotlight when he declared war on a Christian bakery in 2013.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple’s ceremony.
The Kleins, who are devout Christians, explained that participating in a same-sex wedding would violate their deeply-held religious beliefs.
Avakian launched a very public and very ugly assault on the Klein family – alleging they had discriminated about the lesbian couple.
They faced boycotts and picket lines and other wedding vendors were threatened with similar action if they did business with Sweet Cakes.
The family’s young children received death threats and the store’s social networking platforms were overrun by militant LGBT activists posting obscene and profane messages.
The Kleins were eventually ordered to pay $135,000 in “emotional damages” to the lesbians.
They were also forced to shutter their retail location – and eventually shut down their family bakery.
“The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate,” Avakian told The Oregonian in 2013.
Avakian was just as ruthless in his attacks on a Portland bar that turned away transgender patrons. The owner of the Twilight Room Annex did not want his establishment to be known as a “gay bar.”
The bar was slapped with a $400,000 judgment and was forced to shut down.
The Kleins are represented by First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms. They are appealing the fines levied by Avakian’s office.
“We will never know if Mr. Avakian’s unprecedented attack on religious liberty played a role, but we are hopeful that there is a path toward justice,” attorney Hiram Sasser told me. “Everyone’s beliefs deserve respect and tolerance even if some disagree with those beliefs.”
Sasser said Americans should have the freedom to live according to their own conscience without the force of government being used to punish those who disagree with government officials like Avakian.
“Perhaps this will serve as a point of reflection for government leaders that the people of Oregon and indeed most Americans believe in tolerance and respect and the dignity of each person to live their lives according to the dictates of their own consciences,” Sasser said.
Voters saw Avakian for who he really was – an anti-Christian bully with no regard for the U.S. Constitution.
Nobody likes a bully – especially a liberal bully.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.