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Anti-Gay Discrimination Pays Off: ‘Sweet Cakes’ Bakers Rolling In Dough

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The $135,000 Aaron and Melissa Klein were fined after discriminating against a same-sex couple has turned into a major net profit several times as much.

More than two years ago Sweet Cakes By Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The couple, Laurel Bowman and Rachel Cryer, filed a complaint with the State of Oregon, expressing the emotional upset that illegal refusal cost them. Later, they would also be forced to detail the death threats and other negative attention visited upon them by the Kleins’ anonymous supporters who believe they were following the edicts of their Christian faith. 

Late last month, after a lengthy legal battle – which at one point included the Kleins’ lawyer asking for the proceedings to be stopped and the same-sex couple to be presented with a $200,000 bill for damages, and attorney and court fees, which was rightly denied – the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) decided in favor of the Bowman-Cryers, fining the Kleins $135,000.

But the lengthy, drawn out case gave plenty of time and opportunity for conservatives and the religious right to paint the Bowman-Cryers and the LGBT community as “fascists” and to generate a great deal of public sympathy for the Kleins, mostly via false statements, hyperbole, truth-twisting, and just straight-up lying.

That sympathy has turned into big bucks for the Kleins. 

LOOK: Almost Everything You’ve Heard About The Anti-Gay Sweet Cakes Wedding Cake Case Is (Probably) Wrong

NCRM has reported before on the fundraising efforts promoted by religious extremists, from Franklin Graham to the American Family Association. A week ago donations to various fundraising campaigns came to about as much as the Kleins’ $135,000 fine – which reportedly has yet to be paid. Now, those efforts have turned into a cash cow for the Kleins. Whenever they ultimately decide to cash out, they’ll be rolling in the dough.

As we noted last week, Franklin Graham has been hosting a fundraising campaign for them via his Samaritan’s Purse charity, and a GoFundMe campaign delivered reportedly about $60,000 after taxes before it was shut down, although some state that number was closer to $80,000.

Another fundraising campaign via Continue To Give last week had taken in over $55,000. Today, eight days later, that figure is about $345,000. Most of those donations appear to be anonymous, but Continue To Give lists 7,537 separate donations, an average of about $45 each.

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The anti-gay hate group American Family Association has been promoting the fundraising campaign as a way to grow their own donor base, asking supporters to sign a petition linking to the Continue To Give campaign, while handing over their email addresses so AFA can later spam them. The petition also falsely claims a “gag order” is in place, generating even more sympathy for the Kleins.

The American Family Association is far from the only right wing group promoting the Kleins as religious celebrities. The Heritage Foundation, headed by the virulently anti-gay former U.S. Republican Senator Jim DeMint, put out this video earlier this year to give the Kleins the opportunity to explain how they don’t hate gay people, just their weddings:

“There was never any intention on hurting these two girls, ever,” Melissa says on camera. “We’re not those type of people,” she insists. 

“We’ve been mischaracterized,” Aaron Klein adds. “We’ve served gays on many occasions.” In court documents he admitted to also quoting Leviticus 18:22 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer’s mother after declining to bake the wedding cake.

“We’re not those type of people.” “We’ve been mischaracterized.” Leviticus quotation notwithstanding.

The Kleins, via their Facebook page, are promoting other fundraisers too, like one by the Lynchwood Church of God, and their P.O. box address for please who wish to send them cash or checks directly.

So, $345,000, plus let’s call it $60,000, and not counting any other cash from fundraising efforts like Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and others, gives the Kleins $405,000. That’s exactly three times the amount of the fine the people of Oregon imposed on them after discriminating against the Bowman-Cryers.

It’s actually surprising how un-generous the Kleins’ supporters have been. After all, to the far Christian right, they are heroes and martyrs who are standing up against the long arm of the law and gay “fascism.”

By contrast, the owners of Indiana’s Memories Pizza earlier this year merely told a reporter they couldn’t, if asked, cater a wedding of a same-sex couple. A hypothetical that never came to pass. In return, conservatives and the religious right threw more than twice as much cash at the pizza purveyors – nearly $850,000.

UPDATE:
The Oregonian, Sept. 30, 2015, reports “crowdfunding efforts … have raised more than $500,000″ on the Kleins’ behalf.

 

RELATED:

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’

 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that the Klein’s fine has not been paid despite the amount of money donated.

Image via The Heritage Foundation/YouTube

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Georgia GOP Rep. Who Denied Tours Were Given Now at Center of Investigation Into Who Led Pre-Insurrection Capitol Tours

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One U.S. Congressman led a tour of the United States Capitol on January 5, 2021, the day before the January 6 insurrection when thousands of Trump-supporting MAGA activists, including many with weapons, breached the building that is the center of American democracy.

Representative Barry Loudermilk, Republican of Georgia, was caught in video surveillance footage leading a tour Jan. 5, according to a letter sent to him by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

“Based on our review of evidence in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” the letter from Chairman Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney reads.

Loudermilk’s leading a tour is not in itself illegal, but it is complicated by several factors.

First, Loudermilk sits on a committee that point-blank told the House Select Committee no one led any tours on January 5.

“Republicans on the Committee on House Administration—of which you are a Member—claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6th and determined that ‘[t]here were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on,’” the Jan. 6 Committee tells Loudermilk. “However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.”

In fact, as attorney Luppe B. Lupen notes, Loudermilk himself filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) – who is a former federal prosecutor and former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot – urging the Ethics Committee to investigate her and 33 Democrats for claiming “without evidence” there were reconnaissance tours conducted.

RELATED:
‘I Can Confirm That’: Democrat Says GOP Member of Congress Gave Capitol Tour to Insurrectionists Day Before Attack

Second, Loudermilk was one of the Republicans texting White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the insurrection. CNN published this transcript:

Rep. Barry Loudermilk to Mark Meadows

It’s really bad up here on the hill.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk to Mark Meadows

They have breached the Capitol.

Mark Meadows to Rep. Barry Loudermilk

POTUS is engaging

Rep. Barry Loudermilk to Mark Meadows

Thanks. This doesn’t help our cause.

Third, Loudermilk has run interference for Donald Trump numerous times.

“He didn’t have anything to do with January 6. I think that’s a far-fetched idea,” Loudermilk said last year, causing Esquire magazine to literally ask if the Georgia Congressman was “insane.”

One year earlier Loudermilk “criticised the process of impeachment and drew a comparison between the current inquiry into President Donald Trump to the trial of Jesus,” the BBC reported.

Political scientist Norman Ornstein weighs in:

 

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News

Kellyanne Conway Accuses Husband George of ‘Cheating’ on Her – With Twitter

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Kellyanne Conway’s forthcoming memoir accuses her husband, George, of having an affair with a social media site, People Magazine reported on Thursday.

While some couples might feel their partner spends too much time on the internet, Conway went to the extreme.

“Heading into the school year in the fall of 2018, all four Conway children were thriving,” the senior Trump adviser wrote in the book. “They were with me full-time in D.C. My mom had moved in with us to help with my Core Four. George was spending chunks of time in New York at the firm, where he voluntarily went from partner to an of-counsel role, spending his nights alone at our house in Alpine, New Jersey, 240 miles away from D.C. The numbers don’t lie. During this time, the frequency and ferocity of his tweets accelerated. Clearly, he was cheating by tweeting. I was having a hard time competing with his new fling.”

Instead of blaming Conway for being 240 miles away from her and the family, she says that his public disagreements with the president is what appears to have damaged their marriage.

IN OTHER NEWS: Reporter booted out of Madison Cawthorn party describes ‘stunning and sudden desertion of his closest allies’

“Don’t assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are,” Mr. Conway wrote of Trump in 2019. “Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense.”

Mrs. Conway refused to address it when asked by the media, but the president was eager to do so on her behalf.

“George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted,” Trump responded, threatening Mr. Conway’s manliness by calling him Mr. Kellyanne Conway. “I barely know him.”

“I had already said publicly what I’d said privately to George,” wrote Mrs. Conway in the book. “That his daily deluge of insults-by-tweet against my boss—or, as he put it sometimes, ‘the people in the White House’—violated our marriage vows to ‘love, honor, and cherish’ each other. Those vows, of course, do not mean we must agree about politics or policies or even the president. In our democracy, as in our marriage, George was free to disagree, even if it meant a complete 180 from his active support for Trump-Pence–My Wife–2016 and a whiplash change in character from privately brilliant to publicly bombastic.”

WATCH: Hearing witness turns the tables on Republican for complaining about Florida textbook that mentioned racial bias

She implies that something significant happened in 2018 to change her husband’s attitude so much toward the president that it was enough he switch sides.

“Whoop-de-do, George!” Mrs. Conway told him. “You are one of millions of people who don’t like the president. Congrats.”

“If I had a nickel for everybody in Washington who disagreed with their spouse about something that happens in this town, I wouldn’t be on this podcast. I’d be probably on a beach somewhere,” Mr. Conway said about his regular disagreements with the president in an extended Skullduggery podcast in 2018. “I don’t think she likes it. But I’ve told her, I don’t like the administration. So it’s even.”

Critics of Mr. Conway harken back to his desperation for a job with the Trump administration. But he has said that top Justice Department gig wasn’t something he wanted after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.

IN OTHER NEWS: Trump’s ‘dangerous’ election lies may be about to blow up in Pennsylvania Republicans’ faces

“If I get this door prize, I’m going to be in the middle of a department he’s at war with,” Conway recalled thinking at the time. “Why would anybody want to do this?”

He went on to brag about his wife and that she was the one who got Trump elected. Prior to her, “he was in the crapper.”

By the end of 2018, Conway said he was so disgusted with the Republican Party that he was quitting.

“I don’t feel comfortable being a Republican anymore,” he said. “I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult.”

All of it circulated around Trump’s treatment of the Justice Department and the justice system. Mr. Conway said he was “appalled” when Trump tried to go after federal prosecutors for indicting GOP members of Congress before an election.

“To criticize the attorney general for permitting justice to be done without regard to political party is very disturbing,” he said.

Thus began the internal marriage war of the Conways.

Read the full report in People Magazine.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Second Most-Powerful Senate Republican Says Bill to Fight Domestic Terrorism After Buffalo Is Too ‘Partisan’ to Pass

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Senate Republican Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota immediately poured cold water on a just-passed House bill to help fight rising domestic terrorism, in the wake of his past weekend’s massacre of ten Black people in Buffalo by a self-avowed white nationalist and antisemite and a California church shooting deemed a “politically motivated hate incident” by local law enforcement.

The House bill passed with all Democrats and just one Republican voting for it. 203 Republicans voted against the legislation that would establish new offices across three federal agencies to help identify and combat domestic terrorism. Three of the Republicans who voted against the legislation are original co-sponsors of the bill, and many who voted for a very similar bill two years ago voted against this bill Wednesday. The final tally was 222-203.

CNN’s Manu Raju reports Senator Thune, the second-most-powerful Senate Republican, is “skeptical the domestic terrorism bill that passed the House will get 10 GOP senators,” which it would need to pass, assuming all 50 Democrats vote for it.

“He noted that it was a ‘pretty party-line vote.’ Said he had not studied the details of the bill yet but noted the outcome in the House makes him think it is ‘largely a partisan bill.'”

Republicans have a long history of blocking any attempt to curtail or get out in front of preventing domestic terrorism, despite – or because of – the vast majority of extremist-related murders are committed by right-wing extremists.

Republicans’ opposition to addressing right-wing extremism and domestic terrorism goes back at least as far as 2009, when, as Wired reported, “an analyst at the Department of Homeland Security focusing on far-right extremist groups” published this report about the danger of right-wing extremism. Outrage was so dramatic DHS was forced to retract it.

In 2016 Politico reported Congressional Republicans also in 2009 “succeeded in pushing to shut” down a DHS program, an intelligence unit “called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch.” Its mission? “Studying and monitoring sub-sections of the population for potential signs of ideological and political radicalization.”

RELATED:

GOP Senators Orchestrate ‘Blockade’ of Key Biden Agenda Bills: Voting Rights Bill Killed, Infrastructure in Doubt

 

 

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