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.
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.
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