Do Aaron and Melissa Klein think the pain they caused a same-sex couple and their family, which included death threats, was a joke?
The conservative Christian couple for years has been embroiled in a very serious case of discrimination against a same-sex couple who merely wanted to use the same bakery their family had been using for years, to buy a wedding cake.
According to Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer, now married, Rachel and her mother walked in to Sweet Cakes By Melissa to order a cake. Aaron Klein says he told them, "I believe I have wasted your time," and, "We do not do cakes for same-sex weddings."
After leaving, distraught, Rachel's mother returned and explained to Aaron she understood his position, but her views on marriage changed when it was her daughter who wanted to marry a woman.
The Bowman-Cryers say Aaron Klein responded by quoting Leviticus, effectively calling the couple abominations.
They filed a discrimination complaint.
One point many do not know about the case is Aaron Klein posted the complaint to his Facebook page. "This is what happens when you tell gay people you won't do their 'wedding cake,'" he wrote.
Since Klein didn't bother to remove or redact the Bowman-Cryer's personal information from the complaint he posted, the world soon knew the couple's names and address.
In the discrimination hearing, the couple spoke of the death threats they received and the fact that they were fostering a child, one they almost lost because the harassment that came after the complaint was posted to Facebook created an unhealthy environment.
In the end, the Kleins were found to have violated Oregon's nondiscrimination ordinance and ordered to pay $135,000 in damages.
"The amounts are damages related to the harm suffered by the Complainants, not fines or civil penalties which are punitive in nature," the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) stated.
"The Final Order notes that the non-economic damages are consistent with the agency’s previous orders, such as an earlier ruling against a Bend dentist In the Matter of Andrew W. Engle. In that case, BOLI awarded a Christian employee $325,000 in damages for physical, mental and emotion suffering due to religious discrimination and harassment," the BOLI also wrote.
The Kleins, meanwhile, had refused to pay the $135,000 to the Bowman-Cryers. They finally delivered a check to the state Monday, but it will be held until their appeal is complete, meaning the victims in this case have not seen one penny of the damages they were awarded months ago.
And the Kleins, in addition to being given more than half a million dollars in donations, have become right wing celebrities, benefitting from the huge platforms of the right wing media, like the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal, which just posted this video of Aaron and Melissa Klein reading "mean tweets" while laughing, mocking their "ignorant" critics, and telling viewers they "pray for" those who are opposed to them.
Discrimination is no laughing matter. Unless you're right wing Christian conservatives, that is.
Image: Screenshot via The Daily Signal/YouTube