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Court of Appeals Rules Against Christian Bakers Who Refused Same-Sex Couple’s Request for a Wedding Cake

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Melissa and Aaron Klein Will Have to Pay $135,000 in Damages

The owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa have lost their appeal. On Thursday the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the Oregon labor commissioner’s decision that the Christian bakers must pay $135,000 in damages – not for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex couple, although they did, but for emotional and mental distress.

Melissa and Aaron Klein (photo), the couple behind Sweetcakes by Melissa became the face of the Christian right’s persecution claims, sparking a national debate filled with falsehoods and bereft of many facts in the case.

And they benefitted from the misinformation campaign handsomely. Donations poured in. Some reports say the couple were given well over a half-million dollars in donations via crowdfunding sites, but those figures don’t include money sent to the couple directly. 

The Oregonian reports, “in their ruling Thursday, a panel of state appeals court judges sided with [state labor commissioner Brad] Avakian, saying the Kleins did, in fact, deny the Bowman-Cryers because they were lesbians. The justices also rejected the Kleins’ argument that Avakian’s ruling violated state and federal free speech protections.”

In the ruling, Judge Chris Garret wrote that Avakian’s order does not violate the Klein’s free speech rights because it simply “requires their compliance with a neutral law.” Garrett also wrote that the Kleins “have made no showing that the state targeted them for enforcement because of their religious beliefs.”

In a statement, Avakian said the Appeals Court ruling “sends a strong signal that Oregon remains open to all.”

The Kleins filed their appeal in April of 2016, claiming the judgment against them violated their religious freedom. 

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

The couple who simply wanted a wedding cake, Laurel Bowman and Rachel Cryer, “became the victims of death threats — as well as outrageous and horrific claims by conservative media outlets and anti-gay groups,” after filing their discrimination claim, as NCRM reported in 2015. 

The Statesman-Journal adds: “According to a brief filed by the civil rights organization Lambda Legal, when Bowman-Cryer’s mother returned to the bakery to reason with Aaron Klein, he called her daughter and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law ‘abominations.'”

RELATED STORIES:

Right Wing Furious at ‘Gay Mafia’ After Christian Couple Closes Bakery That Discriminated

Aaron And Melissa Klein Head For Big (Money) Leagues With New Attorney

‘We Feel Like We Shouldn’t Have To Pay’: Sweet Cakes Bakers Say State Order Not ‘Legally Binding’

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COMMENTARY

First Lady Unveils White House Christmas ‘Gifts from the Heart’ Decorations – as Some Remember ‘Creepy’ Trump Holidays

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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Monday unveiled the White House’s 2021 Christmas decorations.

“Inspired by the acts of kindness and experiences that lifted our spirits this year, decorated rooms in the White House reflect the Gifts from the Heart that unite us all: faith, family, friendship, the arts, learning, nature, gratitude, service, community, peace, and unity,” Dr. Biden said in a social media post, which included photos.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano posted some images from today’s tour:

In a monumental gesture of inclusiveness and spirit of bipartisanship the Bidens even included a nod to Donald Trump and Melania Trump, the former President and First Lady.

But some were quick to remember the disturbing Christmas decorating efforts of the former White House occupants:

Related:

Video of Trump Saying ‘Christmas Will Be Canceled’ if Biden Wins Goes Viral After President Refuses to Sign COVID Bill

‘Praise Be!’: Melania Mocked for ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ White House Christmas Trees Video

After ‘Give Me a Break’ Complaint Melania Mocked for ‘Pretending to Like Christmas’ as White House Tree Is Delivered

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

DeSantis Courts Anti-Vaxx Voters by Changing Unemployment Rules to Give Them Benefits if They Get Fired: Report

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Florida’s DeSantis administration is expanding the Republican governor’s anti-vaxx policies by altering state unemployment insurance rules to allow those fired for refusing the coronavirus vaccine to be eligible for benefits.

“Extending unemployment benefits to the unvaccinated is just the latest in a series of proposals aligning the GOP with people who won’t get a COVID shot,” Axios reports, noting that Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have also changed their rules to favor anti-vaxxers.

“Republicans see a prime opportunity to rally their base ahead of the midterms. No matter how successful their individual efforts, the campaign is a powerful messaging weapon,” Axios adds.

Up until now being fired for cause – for refusing an employer’s requirements, including being vaccinated – has made terminated employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.

“The general proposition is that it is lawful for an employer to mandate the vaccine and so if an employee doesn’t get it, it’s a choice,” labor attorney Domenique Camacho Moran told CBS News in October.

“It’s like if your employer said, ‘Come in at 9 o’clock and you said, ‘Thanks for sharing, I’ll come in at 11.’ If you engage in deliberate misconduct like that, you won’t be entitled to unemployment benefits which are designed to be provided to those who are separated through no fault of their own,” he added.

But DeSantis and his administration have been downplaying COVID and the coronavirus vaccine, promoting expensive COVID treatments over vaccines – treatments that financially benefit one of his top political donors.

Related:

DeSantis Hires New Surgeon General: A Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Physician Who Appeared in ‘Demon Sperm’ Doc’s Video

Revealed: Ron DeSantis Has Been Taking COVID Advice From a California Psychiatrist Pushing Ivermectin

DeSantis Says ‘Deal With’ It as Coronavirus ‘Waves’ Rage Through Florida

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

Trump Supporters Have New ‘Ambitious Plan’ to Have Loyalists Oversee Elections Across America: Report

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Donald Trump and his supporters are enacting an “ambitious plan” to place loyalists in key positions overseeing elections after his unsuccessful efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.

“In Michigan, local GOP leaders have sought to reshape election canvassing boards by appointing members who expressed sympathy for former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 vote was rigged. In two Pennsylvania communities, candidates who embraced election fraud allegations won races this month to become local voting judges and inspectors,” The Washington Post reported Monday. “And in Colorado, 2020 doubters are urging their followers on conservative social media platforms to apply for jobs in election offices.”

The report comes as Trump continues to push his “Big Lie” of election fraud, releasing a Sunday statement falsely claiming the “2020 Election was rigged and stolen.”

“Citing the need to make elections more secure, Trump allies are also seeking to replace officials across the nation, including volunteer poll watchers, paid precinct judges, elected county clerks and state attorneys general, according to state and local officials, as well as rally speeches, social media posts and campaign appearances by those seeking the positions,” the newspaper reported. “If they succeed, Trump and his allies could pull down some of the guardrails that prevented him from overturning Biden’s win by creating openings to challenge the results next time, election officials and watchdog groups say.”

READ: Trump has a plan to make it easier to ‘subvert the will of the voters’ in 2024: CNN

There are QAnon-linked candidates running for secretary of state to oversee elections, including Rachel Hamm in California, Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan, Mark Finchem in Arizona, and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in Georgia.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) warned how the focus has shifted from overturning the last election to overturning future elections.

“The attacks right now are no longer about 2020,” Griswold explained. “They’re about 2022 and 2024. It’s about chipping away at confidence and chipping away at the reality of safe and secure elections. And the next time there’s a close election, it will be easier to achieve their goals. That’s what this is all about.”

Read the full report.

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