For what seems like eternity, we have been hearing the right prattle on about how Oregon bakers were “persecuted” for their religion, because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. New information, however, tears that narrative to shreds faster than a catnip-covered pillow in a room full of adorable kittens. If you listen to the fine conservative crowd at Breitbart and other right-wing “news” outlets, Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, are being railroaded by an evil ‘gaystapo’ hell-bent on punishing them for practicing their faith — by violating a lesbian couple’s civil rights when the Kleins chose to discriminate against them when the pair attempted to obtain a wedding cake from the business.
The Kleins found themselves facing a $135,000 fine as a result of a lawsuit filed by the couple and were ordered not to further discriminate:
“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.
It’s common in civil rights cases to include such language directed at business owners, said Charlie Burr, a spokesman for BOLI. “That’s what this order says.”
“The Kleins are free to voice their disagreement with the ruling or Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws in general,” he added. “The cease and desist order means that they should refrain from discriminating against future customers.”
In an effort to rile up hateful conservatives, Breitbart and other publications have pushed this narrative:
The gag order is meant to stop Aaron and Melissa Klein from publicly speaking out about their desire to not bake cakes for same-sex weddings. The State’s order came after the Kleins were interviewed by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, and after the State fined the Kleins $135,000 for “emotional damages” incurred by a lesbian couple after the Kleins refused to bake their wedding cake.
That this kind of fascist oppression was always the endgame in the Left’s push for same-sex marriage, was apparent to anyone familiar with the Left’s tactics.
The push for same-sex marriage was always nothing more the Left’s sheep’s clothing in a crusade to destroy Christians and the Christian Church.
By adhering to the word of God, the Left will label Christians bigots and haters, and use the power of boycotts and the State to punish and silence us.
“This is intimidation and bullying – that’s exactly what it is,” Aaron Klein told Fox News.“ They are trying to strong-arm me into handing over $135,000 to the two girls and if I win on appeal – they will never pay me back. The Kleins complain that they face a lien on their home if they do not pay up — because that’s how these things work.
Gee, that sounds scary! Unfortunately, the “Christian persecution” story is also a gigantic lie. According to the ruling, the Kleins “brought the case to the media’s attention and kept it there by repeatedly appearing in public to make statements deriding” the couple against whom they discriminated.
“It was foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact (the Bowman-Cryers), making (the Kleins) liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by (them),” the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries found. While, of course, the emotional distress arose from the initial act of discrimination, the barrage of harassment that resulted from the Klein’s persistent media presence and all other factors (including, of course, the death threats) resulted in the massive payout.
Oregon Live reports that the Kleins shared the couple’s personal contact information on their Facebook page — a common right-wing intimidation tactic — which allowed bigots everywhere to send them death threats. The Bowman-Cryers feared that they would lose custody of their foster children thanks to the steady stream of harassment from right-wing bigots who viewed the Kleins as victims of some sort of fascist, anti-Christian sentiment.
According to Raw Story:
“She filed her complaint by smart phone, which prevented her from seeing a disclaimer notifying her that her full name and address would be sent
to the bakery owners – and Aaron Klein shared that information, along with the complaint, on his personal Facebook page.”
The Kleins’ lawyers attempted to point the finger for the harassment and death threats at the Borman-Cryers — because they filed the discrimination complaint. “Isn’t the real reason you felt stress after the media firestorm was that the state threatened to take away your kids,” attorney Tyler Smith asked during cross-examination.
“That was part of the reason for our stress,” Rachel Bowman-Cryer replied. “They told us it was our responsibility to protect them and keep them out of the public eye.”
The Oregon Bureau of Labor found the Kleins liable for the threats and anguish caused by their callous decision to use right-wing media to further harass their victims, ordering the Christian couple to pay “$60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for emotional suffering.” In addition, the Kleins violated Oregon’s public accommodations law.
“Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society,” the commissioner ruled. “The ability to enter public places, to shop, to dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry.”
While earlier reports suggested that the Kleins were specifically ordered to pay for the sharing of the personal information, Raw Story notes that [Obviously, we have amended this article to reflect that]:
An earlier version of this article contained a significant error that resulted from failure to distinguish the difference between the agency’s recommendation and the commissioner’s final ruling. The bakers were not, as previously reported, punished for threats by others against the couple, as the agency had recommended. They were ordered by the commissioner to pay damages to the couple for emotional harm caused by their unlawful discrimination. We regret the error, and we would like to thank Eugene Volokh for clarifying the distinction.
Congratulations, Conservatives: you terrorized a couple who has done absolutely nothing wrong simply for expecting a business to follow the law…Happy?
Featured Image via Free Republic