In the Sweet Cakes by Melissa anti-gay discrimination case, the final verdict has been handed down, and conservatives are apoplectic.
In reality, they are the owners of the very much still in business Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon-based bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, in violation of that state’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Why? Because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and that’s against the law.
By now, many people know that in 2013,Â Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman â€“Â now the Bowman-CryersÂ â€“ tried to order a wedding cake from the Kleins. Aaron Klein, Melissa’s husband, refused, citing his religious beliefs.
The brides-to-be sued and in a long and drawn-out case, they won.Â
The final judgment came down Thursday, and the Kleins are being fined $135,000.
The money shouldn’t be a problem for them. Franklin Graham has been hosting a fundraisingÂ campaign for them via his Samaritan’s Purse charity, and a GoFundMe campaign that pulled in reportedly about $60,000 after taxes before it was shut down. There is also another fundraising campaign via Continue To Give that’s taken in over $55,000. 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.Â
Meanwhile, look at these headlines from right wing blogs:
Ore. Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbians
Happy Independence Day â€” Now Fork Over $135,000
Christian Bakers Fined, Gagged in Gay Cake Case
Bakery Owners Who Refused Lesbian Wedding Service Just Told What State Will Do To Them
Happy Independence Day: State of Oregon fines Christian bakers $135,000 over a wedding cake
Oregonâ€™s Minister of Thoughtcrime orders bakery to pay $135,000 to â€˜mentally rapedâ€™ lesbian couple, stay silent about beliefs
And these responses via Twitter:
â€” Jim Hughes (@TheJimHughes) July 3, 2015
Patriots – the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa are being persecuted by anti-Christian activists. Please help! http://t.co/DttSWLEKh3
â€” toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) July 3, 2015
‘My gay marriage won’t hurt you!’ —>> Final order: Sweet Cakes bakery must pay $135,000 to lesbian couple http://t.co/dFioi3KvBU
â€” Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) July 3, 2015
â€” Marcel J. van Rossum (@CarrollStandard) July 3, 2015
Gay are defending Oregon’s fascism on my timeline… Gay Reich is on the ascent. pic.twitter.com/SohNb2rnAY
â€” John Nolte (@NolteNC) July 3, 2015
â€” RedNationRising (@RedNationRising) July 3, 2015
The Kleins are appealing the decision.
Here are the Kleins last year at a Family Research Council Action conference, talking about their case:
Image: Screenshot viaÂ YouTube
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10 Hate Groups Got Millions in COVID-19 Government Loans Intended for Small Businesses
Several groups listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) got millions in government-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, money intended for businesses with 10 or fewer employees that have been harmed by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.
The groups include the anti-Muslim organization The Center for Security Policy; the two anti-immigrant groups, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform; and three rabidly anti-LGBTQ groups, the American Family Association (AFA), Liberty Counsel and the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI).
According to the SPLC, all three groups regularly fight against LGBTQ civil rights. The PJI has said gay marriage would lead to legalized polygamy and incest, LGBT History Month in schools promotes gay pornography, and compared gay marriage to Nazism.
Spokespeople for the Liberty Counsel have called homosexuality immoral, unnatural, and self-destructive; called same-sex marriage “destructive to individuals and … our very social fabric,” has said gay marriage would lead to a “rampant increase in diseases,” and have called LGBTQ rights a “direct assault on our religious freedom and freedom of speech.” The group is currently suing a Connecticut school board in order to ban transgender students from participating in high school sports.
The Liberty Counsel received somewhere between $350,000 and $1 million from the PPP program, and the Pacific Justice Institute received between $150,000 and $350,000.
The AFA has called transgender people sexual predators and child molesters, declared homosexuality as hazardous to one’s health, said Islam is a religion of intolerance and war, and claimed that gay men were responsible for “Adolph Hitler… the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.”
“Many of these groups that traffic in hate are already well-resourced, with a constant injection of funding from far-right mega-donors and dark money foundations,” Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said to the Center for Media and Democracy.
“This just highlights more cases of vital funding getting into the hands of those who didn’t need it, while many small businesses in our communities came up empty and are having to fold,” Siddiqi added.
Facebook & Instagram Ban All Content Promoting So-Called “Ex-Gay” Conversion Therapy
On Friday, Facebook and Instagram announced a ban on all videos, images, and written content promoting so-called “ex-gay” conversion therapy or reparative therapy, a widely disavowed and debunked form of psychological torture that purports to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The social media giant which owns both platforms said that the ban was merely an expansion of its policies banning hate speech and a progression of its pre-existing ban on conversion therapy ads.
“We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services,” said Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Africa, Europe and the Middle East, although the ban will apply to the U.S., South America and Australia as well.
Although Twitter and Vimeo both have bans on similar content, it’s unclear whether YouTube does as well. The Google-owned video-sharing platform came under fire in June 2018 for running conversion therapy ads before videos made by LGBTQ content creators. At the time, the platform said it didn’t allow ads that promote hatred or illegal services, but that could feasibly allow such ads to continue running in the 30 states where the practice remains legal.
Religious conservatives have previously fought bans on the practice as violations of their constitutionally protected rights to “free speech” and “religious freedom.” Proponents say that people should have the right to rid themselves of “same-sex attraction” and “gender confusion.”
However, the actual methods of ex-gay therapy have never been proven to actually change anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Such programs often tell clients to avoid masturbation, to exercise to exhaustion, to view queerness as physically disgusting or threatening to one’s health, or to “reframe” one’s desire onto opposite-sex partners. Other practitioners have used electroshock therapy, molestation, sexual assault, forced medication, or strict gender-typed dress and grooming codes to try and change people.
A 2013 survey said 84 percent of former ex-gay therapy clients still feel lasting shame and emotional harm from undergoing such “therapies.” Numerous conversion therapy advocates later come out as still gay, admitting that it doesn’t work and apologizing for ruining lives while lying to people about its effectiveness.
Most Americans oppose conversion therapy and almost every major American psychological, health and pediatric association does as well. In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of conversion therapy bans as violations against religious freedom, but it remains unclear whether the court will continue to refuse such cases now that it has a more conservative majority.
While the bans are helpful, some states still allow the harmful practice to be marketed towards adults or to everyone under the guise of “religious counseling.” Even states that ban the practice still allow abusive “teen discipline” work camps where parents send their queer and “troubled” youth to be “straightened out.”
Featured image by Daniel Tobias. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Tucker Carlson’s Lead Writer Has a History of Racist, Homophobic, Misogynist Social Media Posts
Blake Neff, the lead writer of The Tucker Carlson Show on FOX News, resigned on Friday after CNN uncovered a trove of disgustingly racist, homophobic and misogynist social media posts that Blake published under the handle “CharlesXII” on AutoAdmit (aka. XOXOhth), a largely unmoderated message board used by lawyers and law school students.
Among Neff’s most telling posts are a reference to “foodie faggots,” a comment stating, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down,” and another comment stating that Democratic U.S. House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all women of color, want to “MAKE YOUR COUNTRY A DUMPING GROUND FOR PEOPLE FROM THIRD WORLD SHITHOLES.”
Neff also maintained a 5-year-thread, running from 2015 to last month, where he used degrading and misogynist language while commenting about social media posts made by a random 30-something-year-old woman he described as an “Azn megashrew.” He entitled another comment thread about a woman who sought to freeze her eggs during the pandemic “Disaster: WuFlu outbreak endangers aging shrew’s quest to freeze eggs.”
“On June 26, Neff wrote that the only people who care about changing the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins are ‘white libs and their university-‘educated’ pets,'” CNN reports.
This is all especially disturbing as The Tucker Carlson Show has the highest-rated show in the history of cable news and regularly influences President Donald Trump and other extremists with its racist and inflammatory comments.
“His show has long appealed to extremists who agree with his hardline views on immigration, his emphasis on the preservation of Western culture, and his commentary on topics of race,” CNN writes. On his show, Carlson has called white supremacy a “hoax” and claimed that Black Lives Matters protestors will come after the show’s conservative, and presumably white, viewers.
Carlson has called Neff a “wonderful writer.” In his 2018 book, Ship of Fools, Carlson said Neff and others “work on and greatly improve our nightly show on Fox.” Neff also wrote for The Daily Caller, the right-wing site co-founded by Carlson. Neff deleted his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts shortly after CNN exposed his past posts.
Blake Neff, a top writer for Fox News host Tucker Carlson, has for years been using a pseudonym to post bigoted remarks on an online forum that is a hotbed for racist, sexist, and other offensive content@oliverdarcy scoopshttps://t.co/EfVHmNcAi9
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 10, 2020
Is Carlson going to pretend to have been unaware of his close associate's posts? Is he going to defend his associate's views as 1) defensible and 2) consistent with his own? Or is he going to try to save his own career by throwing his friend under the bus?https://t.co/qMV1OHiB8z
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 10, 2020
The writer, Blake Neff, previously was a reporter at The Daily Caller, which Carlson founded and has featured a handful of reporters who were also found to have posted racist and sexist remarks in online forums and blogshttps://t.co/B60ZLGt0HW
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) July 10, 2020
Yo, Blake Neff you deleted your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. What's with that?
Aren't you proud of your racism and sexism?
It's like you're embarrassed about being a compete shit-stain of a human. pic.twitter.com/QXQtgSUFcA
— RubberGlueInvective (@rubber_glue) July 10, 2020
— Asher Stockler (@quasiasher) July 10, 2020
Not sure why we aren't seeing more defenses of Blake Neff tonight given that we've heard so many people establish losing your job for holding views people disagree with is inherently wrong. Seems like a clear cut example!
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) July 11, 2020
Are any of the conservatives who’ve cried about cancel culture defending Blake Neff?
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) July 11, 2020
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