Oregon Bakers Ask Supreme Court To Overturn Anti-LGBT Violation

Just months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on Colorado baker Jack Phillips’ appeal for refusing to make a cake for a gay couple, another anti-LGBT bakery has asked the Supreme Court to consider their appeal.  The petition for review, filed last Friday by the conservative law firm First Liberty on behalf of Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, asserts the couple’s First Amendment rights to refuse service to a lesbian couple, according to SCOTUSblog.
Melissa and Aaron Klein (image via Facebook)

Just months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on Colorado baker Jack Phillips’ appeal for refusing to make a cake for a gay couple, another anti-LGBT bakery has asked the Supreme Court to consider their appeal.

The petition for review, filed last Friday by the conservative law firm First Liberty on behalf of Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, asserts the couple’s First Amendment rights to refuse service to a lesbian couple, according to SCOTUSblog.

In 2013, Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer asked the Gresham, Oregon, bakery to sell them a cake for their upcoming commitment ceremony.

Based on her ‘deeply held religious beliefs,’ Melissa Klein refused to sell the couple a cake saying same-sex marriage was not consistent with her religious beliefs.

It’s worth underscoring that the Bowman-Cryers weren’t asking for a wedding cake, or holding any kind of religious ceremony, as marriage equality hadn’t been adopted by Oregon at the time.

Also, the state of Oregon’s public accommodation laws clearly prohibit any discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The lesbian couple filed a complaint with the state’s Bureau of Labor & Industries which found the bakery had, indeed, violated the state’s laws.

The Bureau fined the couple $135,000 for the violation, which the Kleins’ claim put them out of business, even though a Christian-led crowdfunding campaign raised over $352,000 for the couple.

The Kleins appealed the decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals, but the Bureau’s decision was upheld.

The bakers then asked the Oregon Supreme Court to review the decision, but the state’s high court refused that request earlier this year.

It’s worth noting that this summer’s ruling regarding the Colorado baker was a win for Phillips only in that the Supreme Court felt the Colorado administrative agency that initially ruled against him appeared to be “too hostile” to Phillips’ religious beliefs. The Supreme Court never actually ruled on whether religious beliefs trump public accommodation laws.

The Supreme Court has several options regarding the petition for review.

In order to accept the case, at least four justices must vote to do so.

The court could decline the review completely, or decline to review but vacate the earlier rulings in Oregon remanding the case back to the earlier courts to review their decision.

That’s the route the high court took in June of this year regarding an anti-LGBT florist in Washington state, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers.

According to SCOTUSblog, the state of Oregon now has 30 days to respond to the filing although a 30 extension is possible.

Should the Supreme Court choose to review the case, after oral arguments a decision would come down sometime before the end of June 2019.

News Round-Up: March 6, 2018

(photo credit: Lee Faircloth)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Paleontologist & athlete Francesc Gascó is serving serious buff and beard (above).

• Anti-LGBT bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned and operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon, are still trying to get out of paying their $135,000 fine for refusing to sell a lesbian couple a wedding cake even though a crowd-funding campaign gave them a $500,000 windfall. #MakingMoneyOnHate

• Some folks didn’t appreciate out Olympian Adam Rippon’s leather harness-styled tux at the Oscars, but he says it made him feel “cool AF.” I thought he rocked it.

• This Toronto man had a sexual hook up with accused serial killer Bruce McArthur and lived to tell about it. Police say he was in a “kill position.”

• Menswear ads in the Netherlands featuring male couples kissing are being vandalized. Who knew there were such haters in the Netherlands?

• Gus Kenworthy (looking totally swoon-worthy) penned a clever Instagram post in the style of a “missed connections” ad after he and bf Matt Wilkas chatted up superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef at the Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Oregon: Anti-LGBT Bakers Appeal To State Supreme Court

Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes Bakery

You may recall back in February of 2013, Melissa and Aaron Klein as owners of Sweet Cakes bakery in Oregon refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple.

The customers who were turned away, Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her wife, Laurel, filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries saying they had been the victims of discrimination based on sexual orientation which is clearly against the state’s public accommodation laws.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries agreed and fined the Sweet Cakes owners $135,000 for emotional damages suffered.

The Kleins took their case to the Oregon Court of Appeals and lost again as the appeals court agreed with the Bureau’s determination.

Now, the Kleins have asked the Oregon State Supreme Court to to overturn the lower court rulings.

The Kleins have paid the fine of $135,000 but it’s been held in a state escrow account until all appeal options have been exhausted.

While the Kleins have cried poor in the aftermath of their anti-LGBT bigotry being exposed, it’s quite noteworthy that a “Christian” crowdfunding campaign by fellow haters raised over $500,000 in support of the Kleins.

You can see the stories chronicling their windfall here and here.

So the couple has actually made money in this little escapade.

It’s time to leave it alone, Kleins. You broke the state’s public accommodation law, you make a butt load of money through the whole debacle.

Just – full stop.

(source)

News Round-Up: December 28, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Fitness model Quin Bruce (above) is giving you biceps for days. Ok, so a LOT for days…

• This Republican candidate for Texas governor told Facebook that he would “gladly execute” gay people.

• A lesbian couple and their two kids were the victims of a savage murder in upstate New York.

Kenneth-in-the-212 has a regular series of posts on “Hunks of House Hunters” because haven’t we all noticed the many handsome home seekers on the popular HGTV series?

• The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld the Oregon labor commissioner’s decision that Christian bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein must pay $135,000 in damages to the lesbian couple they denied a lesbian couple a wedding cake.

• These shirtless guys working out in the snow has to be seen to be believed. Titled “Twisted Snow” in a post by Powerlifting Motivation, the video features “powerlifting” with dry humping in the falling snow. I think some folks will find this just a bit amusing 🙂

Oregon: Homophobic Bakers Send Cakes And Anti-Gay Movie Packages To LGBT Groups

Melissa and Aaron Klein, the former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, stepped back into the spotlight this week when they sent what appeared to be “apology” packages to 10 LGBT groups comprised of a cake with the message “We Really Do Love You!” and a copy of the anti-gay movie Audacity.

You’ll recall the Kleins refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding and ended up being fined $135K for violating Oregon’s public accommodation laws. They eventually closed their bakery when the story became public and sales dried up.

However, the incident became a windfall for the couple as anti-gay supporters raised over $350K in donations for the couple via crowd funding.

Melissa Klein gave this statement to the Oregonian about the “apology” packages:

“Our purpose is to express our love for them as a Christian.

“We don’t hate them. We also included in the package the movie Audacity. I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart. We want to show them that it’s not about not serving them it’s about not being able to partake in an event.”

The idea for the “apology” packages apparently came from San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reports televangelist Ray Comfort, who produced Audacity.

According to Comfort, “We are like doctors with a cure for cancer.”

San Diego’s Canvass for a Cause was one of ten LGBT organizations to receive a cake, but the group decided to place the package on auction via eBay.

“This is not an ’I am sorry cake,’” says Cavass director Cathy Carmack. “There is no apology included with the cake because the Kleins are not sorry. ”

Discrimination Turns Into A Sweet Deal For Sweet Cakes Owners

Melissa and Aaron Klein of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa”

So it turns out, for the second time this year, if you go public with your anti-gay animus you can clean up financially with crowd-sourcing campaigns.

The owners of Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, were found guilty of violating state public accommodation laws and fined $135,000.

But don’t worry about owners Aaron and Melissa Klein – they won’t feel the pinch even a little bit with that fine. Anti-gay haters across the country pitched in to contribute a whopping $355,500 to the Kleins via a campaign at Continue To Give.

This is after GoFundMe closed an earlier campaign that raised over $110,000 – WHICH the anti-gay bakers get to keep.

So, all in all, for discriminating against a same-sex wedding, the Kleins rake in over $462,000; more than triple the fine.

(source)

GoFundMe Officially Clarifies Terms Of Use – No Fundraising For Violations Of The Law

When it was announced last week that the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa was looking at fines of $135K for breaking public accommodation laws in regard to refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, anti-gay activists took to GoFundMe to collect money from strangers to pay the fine.

In a matter of hours, $114K was raised. But then GoFundMe pulled the campaign saying the site could not be used to support those charged with breaking the law.

Today, the crowd-sourcing site officially clarifies their terms of use:

Today we’re updating our terms to help address some confusion around how GoFundMe goes about reviewing campaigns and deciding what will be permitted on our platform.

Specifically, we would like to clarify that GoFundMe relies on information from law enforcement and government agencies to help determine what actions our team will take regarding questionable campaigns. We would also like to acknowledge that while we cannot conduct in-depth investigations on every campaign that is created, we do reserve the right to act on pertinent information as it becomes available to us.

GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law. The amended term can be found under the ‘What’s Not Allowed’ section of our terms, as well as below:

Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts

We are also informing users that GoFundMe reserves the right to share the content from a deleted campaign with law enforcement, donors or stated beneficiaries who wish to file a police report about any misuse of fundraising proceeds. The added language can be found below:

By using GoFundMe, Users are representing and warranting that all donations received are being given and being used solely for the purpose(s) stated within the content of the User’s campaign. We reserve the right to provide information relating to your campaign with donors and beneficiaries of your campaign, and with law enforcement or to assist in any investigation.

Bolding is mine.

GoFundMe did announce last week that although the Sweet Cakes campaign came down, the donated funds up to that point would still go to the anti-gay bakers.

GoFundMe Cancels Anti-Gay Oregon Bakers Money Beg

Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa

I wrote yesterday about the anti-gay Oregon bakers at Sweet Cakes by Melissa who are looking at a $135,000 fine for breaking public accommodation laws by not serving a lesbian couple.

The bakers took to GoFundMe to raise money from strangers to pay for their lawbreaking habits.

Within hours the campaign raised $110,000 but was halted by GoFundMe because raising money for breaking the law is against the Terms and Conditions of the website:

“After careful review by our team, we have found the “Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa” campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the “Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa” campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

In the end, the bakers look to pocket $110,000.

Boo.

Oregon Judge Suggests $135K Fine For Anti-Gay Bakers

Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa

Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, has been fined $135,000 in a decision by an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Judge Alan McCullough issued his proposed fines today. The amount is not final, however. The State Labor Commissioner will have final say on the fine amount.

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 Kleins have already set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay the fine. Over 12,000 was raise in less than three hours.

Oregon: Judge Rules Bakery Discriminated Against Gay Couple, Not A Religious Institution

By now, we all know the story of the Oregon bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which in January 2013 refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

The bakery owner, Aaron Klein, refused to make the cake when he realized the cake would be eaten at a same-sex wedding.

The couple filed a discrimination complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries on the basis of sexual orientation. Under Oregon state law, you can’t refuse service to someone because they are gay.

A judge has now weighed in on the matter. And the bakery, not surprisingly, has been found guilty of – yes – discrimination.

The ruling via press release:

The Interim Order finds that the undisputed material facts support charges of unlawful discrimination under the Oregon Equality Act. An administrative hearing scheduled for March will focus on damages for the same-sex couple.

Under Oregon law, Oregonians may not be denied service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot legally deny service based on race, sex, age, disability or religion. The bakery is not a religious institution under law.

The Kleins argued against a connection between the same-sex couple’s sexual orientation and respondents’ alleged discriminatory action. The BOLI Interim Order rejects the argument:

As the Agency argues in support of its cross-motion, “[t]here is simply no reason to distinguish between services for a wedding ceremony between two persons of the same sex and the sexual orientation of that couple. The conduct, a marriage ceremony, is inextricably linked to a person’s sexual orientation.”

Bolding is mine.

On March 10th, the court will rule on what damages the bakery may owe the couple.

It should be noted that the bakery’s website pointedly makes this notation:

We here at Sweet Cakes strongly believe that when a man and woman come together to be joined as one, it is truly one of the most special days of their lives, we feel truely honored when we are chosen to do the cake for your special day.