For John, BLUF: Are there that few bakers willing to bake cakes for same sex weddings, or is it we need to stamp out all resistance? Nothing to see here; just move along.
The story of the Oregon bakers who refused to make a cake for a same sex marriage is kind of squishy. The bakers, who had previously made pastries for the couple, when they were still a couple, and not yet planning a wedding, did turn down the wedding job and got sued. So far, so good.
Then came the accusation that there was a gag order from the state of Oregon. The couple could not talk about the case. Then it was suggested on the Internet that it wasn't so, but that the fines were for the fact that the bakers had published personal data (DOXXING) about the same sex wedding couple.
Now comes Law Professor Eugene Volokh, with a blog post in The Washington Post, saying "No, the Oregon bakers weren’t fined for publishing the complainant’s home address, or for otherwise publicizing the complaint against them". That seems pretty definitive.
As for the bakers not being allowed to talk, that is a little more tricky. Per Professor Volokh, what they may not say is that they will not bake cakes for same sex weddings (saying they would do something illegal). They are free to say that they think same sex weddings are a wrong headed idea.
On the other hand, if the bakers and the couple had an already established commercial relationship, why did this come to pass? Why didn't the couple politely say thank you and go elsewhere? Why didn't the bakers say, "We think this is wrong, but for you we will make a cake." I guess the couple and the bakers did not have that secure a relationship. I have to admit that I think $135,000 is a lot of emotional distress. I would guess it could have been discharged for $1,350, or maybe even $135. The point would have been made. Maybe the larger sum was needed to grab headlines so that other bakers would get the word. And, I think, the couple should take its business elsewhere, in the future, for fear that the bakers will be spitting onto the pastries when their backs are turned to the couple. I am not saying they should. If they are the good Christian folks we think they are, they shouldn't. But, $135,000 is a lot of animosity.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff