Connect with us

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

Published

on

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.

screen_shot_2015-07-12_at_4.28.54_pm.jpg

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

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Demonstrating ‘The Depth of Power She Has Over Kevin McCarthy’: Politico Reporter

Published

on

Appearing on CNN on Saturday morning, Politico’s Rachael Bade explained that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s overwhelming desire to become the leader of a Republican Party-dominated House has put him at the mercy of the demands and whims of extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

As the plans for the 2022 midterm elections ramp up, and political prognosticators are saying a GOP House takeover is highly likely, McCarthy’s path to staying leader is not certain with the far-right wing of the party balking at just handing the California Republican the gavel.

As Bade explained to CNN’s Christi Paul, Taylor Green is just now starting to feel her power over McCarthy grow.

“What is the takeaway for Kevin McCarthy?” Paul asked. “Particularly, I have to point out that after last night, Marjorie Taylor Greene said she tweeted that she got off a good call with him. spent time talking about problems not only for the country. ‘I like what he has planned ahead.’ Two different — two different points of view from her and in a 24 to 48-hour period. What do you make of that?”

“Look, I think Kevin McCarthy has a really long year ahead of him,” Bade suggested. “You’re right, the midterms are far away. That vote for him to become speaker is a long way off, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is just starting to realize the depth of power she actually has over Kevin McCarthy.”

“This is a man who has wanted to be Speaker for a decade,” she continued. “He needs her vote, he needs her support in order to get the gavel. I think what you’ll be seeing for the next few months, for a year, anytime Kevin McCarthy does anything to infuriate Marjorie Taylor Greene or infuriates [Donald] Trump — they’re going to be lording it over his head.”

“He’s got this real bind right now, he’s going to be in this pickle for a very long time,” she later added.

Watch below:

 

Continue Reading

News

Fauci Warns: ‘It’s Not Going to Be Possible to Keep’ Omicron ‘Out of the Country’

Published

on

The World Health Organization addressed the new COVID-19 “variant of concern” Friday night, naming it “Omicron” and issuing an ominous warning about the future.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the statement said. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant.”

Omicron was initially referred to as B.1.1.529.

Earlier on Friday, the European Commission issued a similar warning and proposed that its member countries activate the “emergency brake” on travel from countries in southern Africa and other affected countries to limit the spread of the variant, The New York Times reported.

Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, said Omicron has 10 mutations and many more entry points than the highly contagious Delta variant.

“All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, said in a statement. “And travelers returning from this region should respect strict quarantine rules.”

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, the following governments have halted or restricted flights from South Africa to try to curb the spread of Omicron: Bahrain, Belgium, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the travel restrictions would “buy us some time” and that “it’s not going to be possible to keep this infection out of the country. The question is: Can you slow it down?”

Continue Reading

CORRUPTION

Wallace Skewers Christie for Trying to ‘Save’ the GOP and Favoring Fox News

Published

on

MSNBC news host Nicolle Wallace skewered former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while he was promoting his book, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”

“Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?” Wallace asked.

“No, but that’s the third section of the book where I talk about the movement forward. In the second portion of the book, we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth-denying that went on with things like Qanon, Pizzagate, the election situation, John Birch Society… that’s what I talk about. There’s two sections of the book and I’m sure you’re conflating them,” Christie answered.

“I’m not conflating them,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”

During the interview, Wallace also asked Christie if he thought former President Donald J. Trump gave him COVID-19. He denied naming Trump specifically in the contraction, but ultimately said he didn’t know who gave it to him.

See below for how Twitter has responded to the interview, which originally aired Tuesday night, and also to the news of Christie’s potential run for president in 2024.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.