Christian Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Wedding Found Guilty of Discrimination; Will Have to Pay Up to $150K

Incredible.

Christian owners of a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, who were forced to close their business in 2013 due to backlash over their refusal to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding based on religious objections, were found guilty of discrimination Monday and now have to pay the couple up to $150,000 in fines.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery, Aaron and Melissa Klein, will have to pay the sapphic couple. Whether or not they pay the maximum $150,000 fine will be determined at a hearing on March 10 BOLI spokesman, Charlie Burr, told USA Today.

Laurel Bowman alleged in January 2013 that Sweet Cakes refused to sell her and her fiancée a cake for their upcoming wedding and that Aaron Klein called their relationship an “abomination unto the Lord.”

Later that year, Bowman filed an anti-discrimination complaint with BOLI charging that the Christian couple had violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007. Burr noted that although the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa are religious, the bakery is not recognized as a religious institution under 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,” said Burr.

During a panel discussion at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. last October, Aaron talked about the couple’s Christian faith and what Melissa’s bakery meant to her before they were forced to shut down after gay activists aggressively badgered and harassed their clients until they no longer wanted to do business with them.

“The boycotting, the harassment. I mean, quite frankly, they didn’t just harass us they harassed the other wedding vendors that we did business with,” Aaron told the audience. “It cut off our referral system; we had to shut the shop down. … We’re facing in excess of $150,000 in damages for this, just for simply standing by my First Amendment rights. … My attorney likens this — he calls it economic terrorism.”

That is exactly what it is.

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Supreme Court decision not to hear cases legalizes same-sex marriage in five states

WINTERY KNIGHT

From ScotusBlog.

Excerpt:

In June 2013, in United States v. Windsor, a divided Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which until then had defined “marriage” – for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs – as a union between a man and a woman.

[…]But on the same day, the Court sidestepped a ruling on whether the Constitution includes a right to marry someone of the same sex.

[…]We all assumed that the issue would be back again at the Court before too long, and that expectation only increased as lower federal courts around the country started to rely on the Court’s decision in Windsor to strike down other states’ bans on same-sex marriage – in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin.   All told, by last Monday the Court had before it seven different petitions asking the Court to…

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