The same-sex couple, parents to two foster children, received death threats after filing discriminationÂ charges against an Oregon baker.
A simple anti-discrimination case filed against an Oregon baker a few years ago has become a rallying cry for the religious right. It’s even been cited by anti-gay lawmakers as a reason to enact so-called “religious freedom” laws to “protect” Christians from being forced to follow the law and treat all customers equally.
Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer are a same-sex couple who wanted a wedding cake in January of 2013. Rachel and her mother visited Sweet Cakes By Melissa, a localÂ Gresham, Oregon bakery. When Aaron Klein, Melissa’s husband, asked her the name of the groom, Rachel “giggled a little bit,” he says, and told him she was marrying a woman.Â
Aaron Klein says he “didn’t want to make anybody upset.” In court today, he told a state administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and IndustriesÂ that he said to her, Â “I’m very sorry, I believe I have wasted your time. We do not do cakes for same sex weddings.”
The Kleins have maintained they are Christians and that baking wedding cakes for same-sex couples would violate their deeply held religious beliefs.
Later, Rachel’s mother returned alone to the bake shop to tell Aaron how she felt.
“She stated that you have your opinion and you have a right to it, but I’d like to say my piece,” Klein testified. “She told me God had made her children gay and that her truth had changed and that she accepted them.”
Klein said he did not mean to belittle anyone when he spoke next.
“Why would the Bible say, and I quoted Leviticus,” Klein testified.
Shockingly, the Bowman-Cryers received death threats after the story gained media attention and their personal contact information was posted toÂ Aaron Klein’s personal Facebook page,Â according to OregonLive.
Rachel Bowman-Cryer said she and her wife received death threats as media attention and criticism from strangers escalated in the months after the story went national in January 2013.
She said the threats were part of a stream of “hateful, hurtful things” that came after the couple’s contact information (home address, phone and email) was posted on Aaron Klein’s personal Facebook page. She said she feared for her life and her wife’s life.
It’s unclear if Aaron Klein or someone commenting on his Facebook page posted the contact information that was apparently used to threaten theÂ Bowman-Cryers family.
Also shocking is that the Kleins’ attorneys blamed Rachel andÂ Laurel Bowman-Cryer for the stress placed on their family after they reported the discrimination. At the time, the couple was only fostering their two young girls, and the state warned them they could lose their children because of the increased level of stress caused by the posting of their personal information.
“During cross-examination, lawyers for the Kleins suggested that the Bowman-Cryers themselves ignited the media coverage by filing complaints with the state,” OregonLive reports.Â “Their point in doing so was to argue that any pain and suffering sustained by the women was due to their own or others’ actions rather than their clients’.”
“Isn’t the real reason you felt stress after the media firestorm was that the state threatened to take away your kids,” attorney Tyler Smith asked.
Of course, those facts never make it into the fundraising letters sent by religious right anti-gay hate groups, who portray the Kleins as good Christians who wouldn’t hurt anyone, and who merely want to serve god.
Last month, the judge ruled against the Kleins.
A state administrative law judge will decide how much, if anything, the Kleins will have to pay theÂ Bowman-Cryers. Prosecutors are asking for $75,000 for each woman, totaling $150,000. Same-sex marriage opponents have already claims for months that the amount has been set and paid, and the Kleins have been bankrupted and lost their business because of the discrimination lawsuit. Of course, not one iota of those charges are true.
Image via Facebook
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Madison Cawthorn Retains High-Powered GOP Attorney for Case Seeking to Disqualify Him as an Insurrectionist
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing several six challengers to his seat in the House of Representatives this year. Two Democrats will face off, with one becoming their party’s nominee. Four Republicans are primarying the far-right freshman lawmaker, one of those five will go on to face the Democratic challenger.
But Congressman Cawthorn is facing an even great challenge, and he’s taking it seriously.
A group of attorneys is looking at both the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina law, in an attempt to have him declared an insurrectionist and therefore unfit to serve.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,” the 14th Amendment reads, “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The New York Times Tuesday night reports “Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.”
Bopp, known as being one of the attorneys who won the democracy-damning Citizens United case at the Supreme Court, flooding American politics with millions (billions?) in dark money. He’s also been a vice-chair of the RNC, and is recognized as a top conservative lawyer.
The Times adds that “North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a ‘reasonable suspicion or belief’ that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.”
Other Republicans are likely worried, which should have some wondering who’s footing the bill for Bopp.
“If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an ‘insurrectionist,’ that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.”
Read the entire Times report here.
Chasten Buttigieg Slams Florida GOP’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill for ‘Pushing LGBTQ Families Back Into the Closet’
Former school teacher Chasten Buttigieg is slamming Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban discussion of LGBTQ issues in public schools under the guise of “parental rights,” saying it will “kill kids.”
Appearing on CNN Buttigieg asked, “what kind of country we’re building, or in Florida, what kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet, you’re saying we can’t talk about you? We can’t even talk about your families.”
“And you know, as a kid who grew up for 18 years, being told, ‘you don’t belong, something about you is wrong.’ Sometimes you take that trauma to heart and unfortunately there are a lot of kids in this country who do the worst because we tell them, ‘something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here.'”
Buttigieg railed against the bill over the weekend, posting a tweet pointing to a Trevor Project study that he says found “42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year.”
This will kill kids, @RonDeSantisFL. You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in. In a national survey (@TrevorProject), 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Now they can’t talk to their teachers? https://t.co/VtfFLPlsn3
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) January 20, 2022
The bill, sponsored by freshman Republican state Rep. Joe Harding, in part reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Buttigieg, who is married to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, said, “if kids come into the classroom Monday morning, and they’re all talking about their weekends, and hypothetically a kid like mine says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dad. We went to the zoo, we went and got ice cream,’ is the teacher supposed to say, ‘hey, we don’t talk about things like that in this classroom’? You know, and not only what does that do to kids like mine, but also do to a kid in the classroom [who is] starting to realize that they’re different.”
JUST NOW: “”What kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet and saying we can’t talk about you? … [Kids] take that trauma to heart.”@Chasten on what is being called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in FL.pic.twitter.com/M1Qiz9Zt9f
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 25, 2022
Image by Pete for America via Flickr
Psaki Schools Doocy on Trump’s Infamous Twitter Tantrums After He Whines About ‘Hashtag’ Diplomacy
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question from Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on Tuesday by reminding him that former President Donald Trump had a history of conducting diplomacy through tantrums on Twitter.
At a White House press briefing, Doocy asked why Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed support for Ukraine on Twitter with the hashtag “#IStandWithUkraine.”
“Has that ever worked in stopping an authoritarian regime from doing anything, a hashtag?” Doocy wondered.
“I will have to say that, unlike the last administration, we don’t think Twitter is the only means of engaging or negotiating or discussing important topics,” Psaki replied. “But it is important for us to convey to the Ukrainian people who do view commentary through a range of forums.”
Watch the video below from Fox News.
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