• Source: Facebook
  • 'Sweet Cakes' Baker Melissa Klein: The State Took 'God's Money' From Us

    After not paying state-ordered damages since July, the Sweet Cakes By Melissa bakers claim the government cleaned out their bank accounts.

    Sweet Cakes By Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein in July were ordered by the State of Oregon to pay $135,000 in damages to a same-sex couple who had tried to buy a wedding cake from them. The damages were ordered by the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), which is in charge of administering and enforcing the state's anti-discrimination laws.

    The Kleins, in short, refused.

    (The case is rather complex, and NCRM explains it all in our report: "Almost Everything You've Heard About The Anti-Gay Sweet Cakes Wedding Cake Case Is (Probably) Wrong.")

    They claimed at first that since they were appealing the decision, the shouldn't have to pay the couple, then grew even more defiant, saying they did not recognize the BOLI's authority. Aaron Klein said, "I didn’t get due process, I don’t call it legally binding."

    It wasn't that the Klein's couldn't afford it. Right wing religious zealots angered that a same-sex couple's rights were being legally upheld donated over a half-million dollars to the Kleins, so cash wasn't a problem.

    But the Kleins have been enjoying the attention and notoriety they gained by positioning themselves as victims. They milked that for all it was worth, appearing at right wing political conferences, telling their side of the story, and gaining sympathy while fueling the right's anti-gay hate.

    It wasn't long before the Klein's drew the attention of Fox News religion reporter and opinion writer Todd Starnes, one of the most factually-challenged reporters in the cable news network's conglomerate.

    Back in February, Starnes wrote a piece on the Kleins so riddled with errors it was amazing he wasn't rebuked by his Fox News editors – if he actually has any. He was, however, rebuked by the BOLI for his false reporting.

    In April on Facebook, Starnes posted a request to his 200,000 fans asking them to donate to the Klein's GoFundMe account.

    UPDATE: Sweet Cakes Bakers Still Actively Fundraising, Cash Pouring In

    One week in July Starnes wrote three articles about his "dear friends" the Kleins. One of those articles was titled, "Bakers who refused to make lesbian wedding cake told to pay $135K by Monday -- or else."

    So it should not have come as a surprise to Starnes, or the Kleins, that the State of Oregon, after waiting many months for them to pay their bill, came and took the money from them. At least, that's what Starnes reported today, claiming "Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries ... confiscated all the cash in Mrs. Klein’s checking account and savings account as well as a special account set aside for their church tithe."

    "Yes, friends – the state of Oregon stole money meant for our Lord," Starnes accuses.

    Starnes says Melissa Klein told him her family "had three accounts." 

    “I have one account that’s labeled, ‘God’s money’ – our tithing. They just took it.”

    Starnes writes that he "predicted that once gay marriage was legalized, LGBTQIA supporters would attempt to silence all dissent."

    Pity he didn't realize the LGBT community is not "silencing dissent," as he puts it. As in every state, Oregon voters elected lawmakers who created Oregon's laws, among them, that the people believe discriminating against LGBT people because they are LGBT is wrong.

    And it's equally a pity that Starnes doesn't understand that the same laws prohibit people of faith – including the Christians Starnes has appointed himself to defend – from being discriminated against also.

     

    EARLIER:

    Bakers Who Allegedly Quoted Leviticus When Refusing To Sell Wedding Cake To Same-Sex Couple Finally Pay Bill

    Same-Sex Couple In Sweet Cakes By Melissa Case Received Death Threats

    GoFundMe Cancels Sweet Cakes By Melissa Fundraising Campaign, Bakers Blame 'Satan'

    Final Verdict In Oregon Bakers Case Comes To $135,000 – Right Wing Furious Over 'Gay Fascism Tax'

     

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    • commented 2016-01-02 08:42:09 -0500
      Hoyle,

      Let me begin by saying that I’ve also enjoyed the conversation. It is difficult to find serious interlocutors on the Internet, and even more difficult to find them while wishing to have a discussion about a controversial matter. That goes for both conservatives and liberals. If I had a quarter for every time I saw the word “Obummer” (from the Right) or “goober” (from the Left), I’d now be sitting on a significant nest egg.

      As for the laws of business and incorporation, I have no objection to the basic facts as you’ve described them. But it is not the plain facts of the law that generate today’s controversy. What leads to bickering are the underlying reasons supporting the law’s language, and that is what I — along with the Kleins, members of the LGBT, and many others — are particularly concerned with.

      For instance, prior to 2003 it was illegal for citizens in the state of Texas to engage in sodomy. That illegality stemmed from the fact that the Texas legislature had, at some point in the state’s history, enacted a law prohibiting that activity. Many conservatives who supported the law responded to complaints from homosexuals with the following reply: “I understand that you’re upset, but this is the law.” Their response was no different than the response you just gave me concerning the laws that govern business practices. The Kleins, however, are not satisfied with that response, just as activists within the LGBT movement were not satisfied with the response they received from conservatives prior to 2003. In both cases, the people affected by the law opposed it on the grounds that its underlying principles or arguments are in some way flawed. These flaws are no small matter, their critics say, for they promote rather than prevent injustice. In the case of Texas’s anti-sodomy law, the LGBT argued, the flaw leads to the injustice of inserting government into the bedroom of private citizens; in the case of the Kleins, the flaw in existing business laws leads to the injustice of allowing the government meddle with affairs that are best left to the discretion of individual citizens.

      I want to emphasize that I am not trying to persuade you to agree with the Kleins’ views on homosexuality or business practices. I am simply trying to illuminate the true source of controversy, and to show that what keeps that controversy alive is something that is shared and felt by both sides of the debate: namely, a sense that manmade law is not infallible. If we admit that, however, we are tacitly admitting that there is some other standard that exists beyond manmade law by which we are able to judge it. That, to me, is what makes these sorts of debates so fascinating, and it is why I think that breezily dismissing the Kleins as “hateful” “bigots” does more harm than good to the intellectual condition of our republic.

    • commented 2016-01-01 23:47:40 -0500
      Geros, your beef would be against the state of Oregon since they passed the non-discrimination ordinance the Kleins violated. If youve ever owned a business and incorporated you know you have to decide what type corporation you want your business to be. As a public company you must abide by the laws of the state you incorporated or risk fines such as the one the Kleins had to shoulder. By their actions, the Kleins have demonstatrated a dislike for same sex marriage aand have resorted to claiming religious persecution while behaving in a most un-Christian manner (posting private details online and inciting violence against the real victims in this case the lesbian couple and their children.) The Sypreme Court has legalized gay marriage and just like interracial marriages of the sixties, people will just have to get used to it; it will not be an issue that will ever simply ‘go away’. btw- thank you for the civility and lack of ad hominem remarks- I appreciate that.

    • commented 2016-01-01 20:02:15 -0500
      Folks, my apologies for the late responses.

      HOYLE: I’m not sure what part of my last post you believe is “only” an opinion. As for your comments about life, liberty, happiness, and equality, these are principles and ideals enshrined within the Declaration of Independence, not within the U.S. Constitution. Now, I believe that the Declaration serves as the philosophical foundation for the U.S. Constitution; however, there is more nuance to the meaning of the principles and ideals you identified than meets the eye. “Equality” for the Founders, who were men of the Enlightenment, was comprehended within the context of Lockean political philosophy, which belongs to the period of classical not modern liberalism. Further, although the Enlightenment eventually led to the rejection of ancient political philosophy, thinkers like John Locke and Algernon Sidney nonetheless continued to appeal to natural law as the source of political wisdom; and natural law, traditionally understood, has always resisted calls to legitimize homosexuality. I hasten to add that resisting calls to legitimize homosexuality is not equivalent with persecuting homosexuals in cruel or demeaning ways; it simply means that homosexuality fails to make a compelling case for itself as a necessary component or element of political society. Classical liberalism may tolerate the private habits of homosexual couples, but it sees no reason to extend public endorsement to those relationships. Equality, as far as Locke (and likely Jefferson and Madison) was concerned, was obtained in the security and preservation of man’s natural right not to be ruled without his consent. This is political not “social” equality. Beyond that, man has no natural right to force his fellow citizens into transactions they’d rather not conduct; nor does he suffer a natural injustice if the state chooses to extend public endorsement to one form of cohabitation and not another.

      At any rate, my reason for speaking at length about classical liberalism and natural rights has to do with your appeal to the Declaration of Independence. This document will not serve your ends very well; instead, you would be better off appealing to early libertarian writers like John Stuart Mill or to twentieth-century liberalism/progressivism, which replaces natural rights with so-called “human” rights.

      IAN: As the normative tone of my earlier comments indicates, I’m not persuaded by arguments that appeal to existing law. In my previous post, I noted that LGBT activists were not satisfied with the various arguments laid against them by conservatives who appealed to tradition or existing law as a reason for denying homosexuals access to such things as state-approved marriage licenses. Adopting that same spirit, I too am not persuaded by your appeal to today’s so-called antidiscrimination laws. My only interest in these laws has to do with the ideas, principles, and arguments underlying their ratification. In other words, I’m concerned with the Ought more so than with the Is.

      In your second paragraph, you claim that allowing shopkeepers to select their clientele risks depriving others of their “human rights.” Can you explain in greater detail how a person has a “right” to compel his fellow citizen to enter into a transaction with him? I suspect that very few homosexual shopkeepers would want to conduct business with a known pedophile or zoophile, especially if that pedophile or zoophile wanted the shopkeeper to make something — a cake, a banner, etc. — that in some way celebrated pedophiliac or zoophiliac activities. Even so, we needn’t go this far to see my point. In my view, the shopkeeper has a far clearer right to conduct his business as he sees fit. If that means he wants to do business only with Jews and blonde-haired women, while avoiding business with teenagers and Hispanics, so be it. Moreover, this right belongs to every shopkeeper regardless of his own characteristics or idiosyncrasies, that is, regardless of whether he himself is white or black, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual. My reason for this position is a continuation of my reply to Hoyle (above): namely, to say that a shopkeeper is obligated, under threat of state-enforced penalties, to enter into transactions he does not wish to conduct, inclines far more toward despotism than a shopkeeper’s decision not to ice a cake for a homosexual couple. One is a stark deprivation of liberty; the other is not.

    • commented 2016-01-01 16:19:19 -0500
      Ian, I didn’t say thank you for your level headed response so I’m saying it now. Thank you.

    • commented 2016-01-01 16:18:33 -0500
      Ian, I have to compliment you on your last response.
      I was ready to leave the conversation from prior insults which aren’t true.
      If its true the bakery made their opinion public as opposed to simply saying ‘no’, then it was them forcing their opinion on others. Being a religious based opinion, perhaps it would’ve been better to keep to themselves as the next person is entitled to their own perspectives.
      I personally dont agree with Oregon’s final decision on forcing a person to serve another,,,, but then again, I dont live in Oregon. If Oregon folks are happy with their laws they should keep them. Again, make it a free market choice to pick up & leave if the laws bother the proprietor. I dont know that a privately owned bakery is a public business. They may serve the public as opposed to select client listings but its most probably under LLC, sole proprietorship and not traded within the stock market.
      All in all, the basic rule to not go looking to be insulted applies to the customer as well as the proprietor. Life is way too short to go looking for enemies.

    • commented 2016-01-01 15:58:30 -0500
      Let’s put it like this:
      Yes, free market, find another bakery, they lose business, etc etc
      Well groups of Christians like to make where they do and do not shop very much in the media, and that’s not even based on direct words from owners/employees to the individuals.
      If this baker had just said no, turned them away quietly, maybe they would’ve just found another bakery. But the Kleins fired shots, and the Kleins are the ones who responded disgustingly to a discrimination complaint.
      That is all they actually did – file a consumer complaint.
      The Kleins went to the media. The Kleins posted the lesbian couples’ details online for the world to see, resulting in death threats. And yes, in the first place the Kleins said no to making a cake, which: “This isn’t about cake. It is about a business’ refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.” And yes, emotional harm is still harm.
      This is the final order (which, by the way, you should read). There will be no overturning. The Kleins brought all of this on themselves. If you run a public business, you gotta follow public law.

    • commented 2016-01-01 14:21:34 -0500
      Once again, your opinion. So, are you telling me goodbye? You dont want to stay around and mind wrestle with the gay guys no more?

    • followed this page 2016-01-01 14:11:14 -0500

    • commented 2016-01-01 14:09:23 -0500
      a court decision is a judgment,,,, not a fact. It is my opinion that a Tx court would not make the same decision,,,,well, maybe Dallas.

      so your facts are not facts.
      And what I like or dont like about gay people is only your opinion,,, not a fact.
      my opinion of you is that you are highly emotional & this is a waste of my time.

    • commented 2016-01-01 14:03:39 -0500
      Your words, not mine. Ive only offered facts while you’ve continued to offer allegory and opinion. You obviously do not like gay people evidence by your desire to have them live their lives as second class citizens. I could say a lot about that topic alone but Id rather stay on topic. Your method of discussion is to resort to obfuscation and reading your opinion into the discussion beyond what has been written. That makes your comments trolling and irrelevant. The fact that you sought out this thread that caters to people of the LGBT community to shill for the anti-gay hoarde speaks for itself.

    • commented 2016-01-01 13:49:48 -0500
      perhaps, according to you, my contribution to this discussion is hate speech. And it would be better if your feelings were not hurt, altho none of your body parts have been hurt or even threatened.
      The way things work, according to you, is everybody should agree with each other & I just find that utterly un-managable.

      So be it, when the Kleins have this court decision overturned then I will no longer be guilty of hate speech, you will.

    • commented 2016-01-01 13:06:53 -0500
      Censorship of hate speech? thank you for making my point. You’ve been trolling this site to demoralize the lesbian couple any way you can. the bottom line is the Kleins broke the law. If they dont like the law then they can either go through due process to have it changed or move to a "red"where hate speech is often protected.

    • commented 2016-01-01 12:57:17 -0500
      correction: & not the definite version we’re all accountable for.

    • commented 2016-01-01 12:55:15 -0500
      censorship by any other name is still censorship.
      it appears Oregon is a solid blue state. Their ruling reflects their voting demographics but certainly not all. Would my twisted version of your words still hold in Texas, a solid red state? If not, then your version is simply a version & the definite version we’re all accountable for.

    • commented 2016-01-01 11:47:20 -0500
      Well the state of OR woul not have even legislated a fine if the activity had no harm now would it. Nice way to twist my words around to fit your red herring, Waxman

    • commented 2016-01-01 11:09:33 -0500
      harming others, ehhh?
      did anybody walk away with a broken arm or even a bloody nose?

      protection of free speech is when we protect those that make statements which we disagree with. What you are suggesting is censorship.

    • commented 2016-01-01 10:49:06 -0500
      Actually with the donations of nearly 500k less the 130k punitive fines assessed by the state of OR they have a net gain of almost $370,000- not bad for a few months work of being a ‘christianist victim’. As to their claims of bankruptcy, the sheer numbers belie their statements that it was related to their court challenge to the public fine levied against them for breaking the anti-discrimination ordinance. I hope this teaches them and anyone else who would discriminate a lesson that your free speech may have monetary consequences if you harm others.

    • commented 2016-01-01 10:29:40 -0500
      Seasoned atheist here, they should not be fined $130k. They should simply lose business from learned consumers.

    • commented 2016-01-01 09:10:46 -0500
      Ian, I’m a “free-market” minded person so just about every thing you said runs counter intuitive to my philosophies.
      If a baker wont bake because of their religious convictions, then its highly likely another baker will make themselves available. If the baker refuses the money based on “orientation” that is a reflection of them. As far as I’m concerned, the baker’s penalty is their loss in revenues. Does the soon to be married couple truly want to be happy? Then their happiness is not stipulated on another person’s religious viewpoints.
      Please dont tell me the couple were just looking for a cake! Not in this day in age where I can look up Yahoo business listings and come up with several pages of possible alternative bakers.
      Now just because the baker accepted a non hetero’s business at an earlier time isn’t to say their beliefs haven’t changed since then. Again, their right which I support as religion tends to fill in gaps when life becomes a rocky road. Its hardly for you or I to determine when a person develops their convictions.
      We, Americans, either find a way to apply more evenly or expect kickback from the folks you choose to target.
      This is all just part of a bigger thing which some Americans are wising up to. We are seeing more & more lynch mob mentality where trials are held in the “court of public opinion”. This republic was created to protect the individual against the mobs,,,, not to think the mobs reflect the masses, so lets cater to mobs wishes. Yahoo listing came up with over 50 Portland bakers. Lets spend our money where the proprietor makes us feel like they want our business & stop trying to ruin somebody elses life.

    • commented 2016-01-01 01:42:20 -0500
      Apparently not far at all, Henry. Filed by one of the women in question:
      “In november of 2011 my fiancé and I purchased a wedding cake from this establishment for her mother’s wedding. We spent 250. When we decided to get married ourselves chose to back and purchase a second cake. Today, January 17, 2013, we went for our cake tasting. When asked for a grooms name my soon to be mother in law informed them of my name. The owner then proceeded to say we were abominations unto the lord and refused to make another cake for us despite having already paid 250 once and having done business in the past. We were then informed that our money was not equal, my fiancé reduced to tears. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

      Not looking for a fight, looking for a cake. Even a cake they had gotten before! But this cake was going to be eaten in celebration of two women loving each other, and some people just can’t have that.

      Your point about discrimination needs to be fought against equally is valid, but you can’t use one group’s discriminatory practices as an excuse for your own. The main difference, socially, is that Christianity is still the vast majority in the US. More people on both sides come out in these cases.

    • commented 2015-12-31 23:02:10 -0500
      my question is how far did this couple have to travel out of their way in order to be discriminated against?

      my guess is they went looking for a fight and so is everybody defending that couple. Or should I say, looking for a fight with the Kleins.
      Go to a Muslim bakery & ask for same sex cake. Or would that be too offensive to the Muslim community?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVAW_xUtVKQ

    • commented 2015-12-31 13:49:35 -0500
      “If a shopkeeper doesn’t want to sell me his wares on the basis that he doesn’t like my haircut, he ought to have that right.”

      That right there is where you are wrong, Geros. That is called discrimination, and it is as illegal to do so based on someone’s sexuality as it is their haircut, or their religion for that matter. The same laws that now protect LGBT and other minorities from discrimination also protect the majority. I can’t kick you out of my shop for being white.

      You seem to think that someone’s discrimination towards a group of people is the same as a group of people fighting for equal rights. Those are very different.
      LGBT groups have been fighting against laws for years to allow themselves included, to give them the same human rights everybody else enjoys.
      You want to challenge the law to take away human rights from certain groups of people.. Sorry, but no. That makes you a hateful bigot. It’s like telling someone they can’t say happy holidays, they have to say merry christmas. I will say what I want, you will say what you want, and we both have to accept that.
      What is your problem with accepting people as people?

    • commented 2015-12-31 02:48:28 -0500
      My only comment will be that I never shopped for cakes there, or really any bakery. So I do not know these people. But since it was about gay marriage it is not LGBT, it is LG or GL, lesbians and gays. Bisexuals maybe involved too, as they can be attracted to either males or females, but T, as in transgender, has nothing to do with gay marriage. A lot of people just like to throw on the B and T to make it appear a greater number are being served, or hurt, but in this case it is in error. Many transgender people are not gay or lesbian, so while it can affect them, it is not a “T” thing. Just leave it to saying that gays and lesbians were oppressed by this baker couple, and your reporting will be better than most.

    • commented 2015-12-30 13:33:51 -0500
      Geros, that is only an opinion based on the side of the political spectrum you reside. our country was founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and equality for all, its in our constitution. these are civil rights we are talking about. the government got into the business of defining marriage and opened that door. people like the Kleins only use “religious liberty” as a justification for their bigotry against LGBT people. the highest court in the land even ruled in favor of legitimizing and including lgbt in the marriage benefits they grant. the kleins went as far as to put the lgbt couple’s famiily in peril by breaching their right to privacy because they are vindictive. you can bloviate all you want about liberty and how we need further discussion on this, meanwhile the lgbt people in this country handle our own problems in spite of those who would attempt to derail us.

    • commented 2015-12-30 12:57:48 -0500
      Hoyle,

      And we’ve been having a debate over the proper balance between liberty and security since the late 18th century. The nature of controversial matters is that they invite vigorous and prolonged discussion, especially within communities whose charters are founded on political liberty. The only context in which a free society’s citizens should ever be told, with an air of authority, that “the debate is over” is with respect to the procedural processes of lawmaking — and only because the principle of majoritarianism operates as a mechanism for finalizing decisions within that particular sphere of activity. However, in terms of political and philosophical discourse within the public forum, no American citizen should ever allow himself to be cowed into silence by those who are irritated by the debate and impatient for it to disappear.

      Fortunately, Americans in general don’t yet appear ready to surrender this most essential liberty. Indeed, if the LGBT movement has had any beneficial effect on the country, it is that the organization’s supporters reminded us that even the finality of enacted law is not, and should not, be immune to challenge. You say that the Kleins “should have known better” than to push back against the existing laws governing business practices. Would any true LGBT champion surrender to the chastisement that he “know better” because he happened to be faced with laws criminalizing his sexual habits and prohibiting him from marrying a person of the same sex? Of course not. Indeed, the overarching goal of the LGBT movement was to resist and ultimately overturn existing law, not meekly to sit down and remain silent in its shadow.

      You and others clearly disagree with the Kleins, and that’s fine. Disagreement in a free society is inevitable. But your insistence that those who disagree with you ought to shut up and surrender is fundamentally repugnant to the principle of political liberty and therefore at odds with the very nature of free society.

    • commented 2015-12-30 11:55:56 -0500
      The Kleins had already broken the law by discriminating. we’ve already had the debates and discussions about this. I dont agree we need to debate about equal rights. The Kleins assumed those legal obligations when they incorporated their business; they should have known better.

    • commented 2015-12-30 11:18:49 -0500
      Douglass,

      I’m merely interested in introducing some reason and moderation into a political debate that has become nearly unhinged from both. The point of departure for the LGBT’s supporters, in almost every case, has been impulse and “feeling” rather than reflection and deliberation. Hence, the massive abuse of words like “hate” and “bigotry”; words whose use is intended to do nothing else but to foreclose the possibility of extended debate on the propriety, legitimacy, and justice of the social issues at stake. These days, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash if, upon accidentally stabbing his gums on a broken potato chip, a man accused the chip of being a hateful bigot.

    • commented 2015-12-30 10:22:57 -0500
      Geros S. Man you sure pull out all of the stops to defend bigotry. Grotesque beyond belief.

    • commented 2015-12-30 07:03:25 -0500
      Lee Dorsey says that the Kleins are guilty of “promoting hate.” It’s neither hateful nor bigoted to disagree with a person’s actions; nor is it hateful or bigoted to want to refrain from participating in the related activities, either directly or indirectly. More to the point, the Kleins themselves — as far as I’m aware — never issued threats against Cryer and Bowman. The threats received by Cryer and Bowman originated with third-party individuals who opposed the legal complaint filed against the Kleins. This is no different than the threats issued against the Kleins, including threats directed toward their children, by third-party individuals who opposed the Kleins’ business decision not to bake cakes for same-sex weddings.

      Those who accuse the Kleins of publishing Cryer and Bowman’s address and telephone number are correct, but only partly so. What the Kleins actually published was the entirety of the public complaint lodged against them by Cryer and Bowman, which is not itself an illegal act. (See Prof. Eugene Volokh’s piece in the Washington Post, July 10, 2015.) Did the Kleins publish the complaint with the intent of also disclosing Cryer and Bowman’s address? It’s certainly possible; however, as Volokh notes, it’s not clear whether the Kleins had a legal obligation to redact Cryer and Bowman’s contact information, inasmuch as that information was part of a public document.

    • commented 2015-12-29 23:04:05 -0500
      Funny how “the state took God’s money” but didn’t touch their $500,000 GoFundMe account… ;-)

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