OREGON: REPLACING SEX DISCRIMINATION WITH RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

Anyone who reads this blog certainly knows that I stand 100% in favor of gay rights and 100% in support of gay marriage.

I feel this way because I believe in freedom, and could never accept the persecution and destruction of anyone for living their own lives or for having sincere, personally held beliefs.

So why would I, or any other reasonable person, support the persecution and destruction of religious Christianss for exactly the same reason?

Excerpted from George Rede\’s article in The Oregonian:

The lesbian couple turned away by a Gresham bakery that refused to make them a wedding cake for religious reasons should receive $135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering, a state hearings officer says.

Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a proposed order released Friday, April 24.

Bureau prosecutors sought $75,000 for each woman — $150,000 total — during a hearing on damages in March.

The amounts recommended by law judge Alan McCullough, coming after four days of testimony, are not final. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has the final authority to raise, lower or leave the proposed damages as is.

The controversy began in January 2013 when Aaron Klein turned away Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her mother at a cake-tasting appointment they had set up with Melissa Klein. Melissa Klein was not at the shop that day.

In August 2013, the women complained to BOLI. The agency conducted an investigation and in January 2014 brought charges that the Kleins had unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation.

In a statement Friday, BOLI said: “The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants. Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007.”

The Bowman-Cryers both testified to the emotional stress they attributed to their experience with Sweet Cakes as well as the glare of media attention that soon followed.

Aaron Klein said his family, too, had suffered because of the case. Reporters came to his home and his shop, he testified during the March hearing.

The Sweet Cakes by Melissa car was vandalized and broken into twice. Photographers and florists severed ties with the company, eventually forcing Sweet Cakes to close the Gresham shop in September 2013. The business now operates out of the couple\’s home in Sandy.

Anna Harmon, one of three attorneys representing the Kleins, said, “It\’s a shocking result and it shows the state\’s relentless campaign to punish Oregonians who live and work according to their faith.”

“The important thing to realize is this,” she added, “This is real money that Aaron and Melissa are going to have to pay that otherwise would be used to pay their mortgage and feed their kids.”

Let\’s understand what happened here.  The same-sex couple was not refused service in the bakery.  They were not told they could not buy a wedding cake there.  They were told that, based on their religious beliefs, the Kleins would not put a same-sex message on the cake.

That\’s it.  That is the extent of Aaron and Melissa Klein\’s “crimes”.  That is why they have been put out of business, have had their property attacked, have been threatened (not shown in the excerpt above, but they have been) and now may be fined $135,000.

Even if you agree with Oregon\’s view of this incident, how can you – how can any sane person – accept this kind of punishment?  A $50 or $100 fine and a warning might make sense.  But $135,000?  Stock swindlers who screw widows out of their life\’s savings are fined less than that.

The state of Oregon has destroyed the livelihood of a family and put them in physical danger for not writing something on top of a cake – an “issue” which could have been resolved by the two obnoxious, self-righteous, money-grubbing opportunistic “aggrieved parties” either patronizing another bakery, or having someone with one of those baker\’s squeeze-things and about 50 cents worth of icing, write any message they wanted. 

This is religious persecution of the first order.  It shames and disgraces Oregon by making its legal apparatus look like a bunch of idiots, who think they can resolve a minor incident of what it deems as sex discrimination with a major incident of what most people would consider religious discrimination.

Congratulations to Oregon for leading the way in malicious, stupid, vindictive, hypocritical behavior.  How proud its citizens must be.

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