An Oregon judge has ruled in what has become an iconic anti-gay discrimination case, and the Christian bakery owners are claiming that money will take food out of their children’s mouths.
In January of 2013 Rachel BowmanÂ and her mother went to a local cake bakery to order a wedding cake. The Gresham, Oregon bakery,Â Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused the order, despite the fact that their business, as the name implies, was selling wedding cakes. The refusal, from Aaron Klein and his wife Melissa Klein, wasn’t because they were understaffed, or had too many orders, or were closing for vacation. No, their reason, as they told Rachel and her mom, was that Rachel was marrying a woman, and baking a cake for a same-sex couple, they said, violated their Christian faith.
Â “I’m very sorry, I believe I have wasted your time,” Aaron Klein says he told Rachel Bowman in his court testimony. “We do not do cakes for same sex weddings.” Klein testified he also quoted Leviticus to Bowman and her mother.
Today, after nearly two years of litigation, a judge awardedÂ Rachel Bowman-Cryer $75,000, and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 inÂ damages for their emotional suffering,Â the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) judge ruled.
That figure could change, and increase up to $150,000 total, or decrease, based on the final decision ofÂ State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, The Oregonian reports.
“The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants,” the BOLI ruling states. “Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007.”
The Kleins have become martyrs for the religious right, who for years have claimed the lawsuit had already bankrupted them and forced them out of business, which are lies propagatedÂ by some of the most ardent anti-gay activists.
This afternoon, Melissa Klein took to Facebook to announce the ruling, and to link to a GoFundMe account set up for them today. As of this writing it has received nearly $20,000 in just four hours.Â
“We just found out that the judge has made his decision, he is ordering that we pay $135,000 in emotional damages. This money will not come from the business, but instead would have to be paid from money that should be going to pay for food and housing for us and our 5 children,” Klein wrote.Â “This amount will financially ruin us. Our government was put in place to protect the people not to punish people because of their faith. We have had many people ask to help, someone kindly set up a go fund me for us. Thank you to all who are willing to fight for religious freedom. God bless.”
One vastly under-reported aspect of the story was theÂ Bowman-CryersÂ received death threatsÂ after the story gained media attention and their personal contact information was posted toÂ Aaron Klein’s personal Facebook page,Â according to The Oregonian.
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.
The death threats and media attention caused theÂ Bowman-Cryers to fear the children they were fostering would be taken away from them, they testified in court.
Image viaÂ Facebook
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Experts Sound Alarm as ‘Urgent and Heated’ Threats of Civil War Ramp Up Before Midterm Election
According to a report from the New York Times, analysts and experts who follow online trends with regard to threats of political violence are warning the U.S. is moving into dangerous territory as the 2022 midterm election day grows closer.
As the Times’ Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel wrote, there have been upticks in calls for a civil war since the FBI initiated a search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort seeking stolen government documents and then again when President Joe Biden called the former president and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.”
Following the Mar-a-Lago search, “civil war’ talk on conservative social media platforms more than doubled and now “experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.”
“Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream,” the report states before adding, “Social media platforms are rife with groups and boards dedicated to discussions of civil war. One, on Gab, describes itself as a place for ‘action reports,’ ‘combat vids’ and reports of killed in action in ‘the civil war that is also looking to be a 2nd American Revolution.'”
According to Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, “What you’re seeing is a narrative that was limited to the fringe going into the mainstream.”
Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies the recruitment techniques of fringe groups claimed the former president is not helping matters.
“Ideas go into echo chambers and it’s the only voice that’s heard; there are no voices of dissent,” he explained before warning, “The statements Trump makes are not overt calls to action, but when you have a huge and devoted following, the chances that one or more people are activated by that are high.”
You can read more here.
‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion
It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.
“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.
“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”
“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”
Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”
“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”
University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”
Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case
Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.
Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.
The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”
The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.
“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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