Come on, John, I know you’re out there….
Even if one believes that the refusal of Sweet Cakes to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was a dubious exercise of religion as well as a mean and petty one, the astounding punishment levied on the now defunct bakery’s owners must be condemned as an abuse of power.
Having already lost their bakery business due to mob action online by Gay Marriage Advocate Furies, Aaron and Melissa Klein were walloped by former Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian with a $135,000 judgment for “emotional damages” to the couple. He also issued a gag order on the ex-bakers that forbids the Kleins from explaining to potential customers of Sweet Cakes their anti- same-sex wedding policies.
UPDATE (7/9): This is, I have learned, an overly simplistic description. Ken at Popehat explains what’s really going on as far as the “gagging” goes.
Of course—I guess I can’t really say “of course” if such a travesty can occur—no state can order anyone not to talk about anything in such a situation. The unconstitutional gag order is essentially moot, since to violate it the Kleins would have to still own a bakery and they do not, but it still acts to intimidate others and chill freedom of speech. It must be challenged and overturned. The fine is also unconscionable, and effectively makes villains out of the originally aggrieved couple if they don’t immediately agree to waive it. There is a duty in law to mitigate damages: the couple could and did minimize the harm of their cake request’s rejection by obtaining a wedding cake elsewhere. The Kleins didn’t stop them from getting married, and any harm that came to them from the publicity of their humiliation by the bakery was exacerbated by the couple’s own actions, not the Kleins’. $135,000? That’s beyond punitive. That’s vengeance. Continue reading →
“DESTROY THE EVIL CAKE DISCRIMINATORS!!!!”
If GoFundMe isn’t going to have the integrity to avoid taking sides in complex political and cultural disputes, it is functionally useless.
Perhaps it should change its title to “GoFundMyPoliticallyCorrectCause.”
Pusillanimous GoFundMe caved in to pressure from vindictive gay marriage activists and pulled the crowdfunding campaign on the site that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
The cake shop in Gresham, Oregon, became ground zero for the same-sex marriage debate in January 2013, when it turned away customers who wanted cakes for a same-sex wedding. The spurned couple filed a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming their civil rights under the Oregon Equality Act had been infringed. In defense, the owners of the business stated that they refused to cater the wedding because of their religious beliefs, and thus their decision was protected by the U.S. Constitution. They subsequently closed the shop, and carried out their business from home. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries proposed a damages award Friday of $135,000 against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners, for being in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law. The award, which is not final, would provide $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination.”
After taking down the page raising money for the bakery in the belief that they have been unfairly targeted, victimized and mistreated, GoFundMe said in a statement that the campaign violated the site’s policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”
Continue reading →