Unable to accept defeat, an Oregon Christian-owned bakery found guilty of discriminating against a lesbian couple has vowed to keep “fight[ing] back” against the government despite having lost a massive lawsuit that will require the owners to pay $135,000 in damages.
You may recall the story of “Sweetcakes,” the Oregon bakery owned by Aaron and Melissa Klein that in 2013 flat-out refused to bake a cake for the wedding of a lesbian couple because it was against their Christian beliefs. The couple took the bakery to court and, thanks to the state’s forward-leaning laws protecting the LGBT community from discrimination, the bakery was quickly found guilty of violating the couple’s rights in the same way that it would had they discriminated against customers based on race, religion, or gender.
The law isn’t even particularly hard to understand. There is absolutely no way that the Kleins could have misinterpreted it to justify their refusal of service.
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.
The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 includes an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private business owners to deny service and unlawfully discriminate against potential customers. [source]
Consequently, it was not hard for an Oregon judge to award a total of $135,000 in damages to the victims, Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer – and the Kleins have promptly lost their minds.
Not content to just cut their losses and get back to baking cakes (for everybody), the owners seem dead set on turning their cupcake war into a holy one. Speaking with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, they vowed to fight on while playing the victim of mean old godless liberals.
“He wants to silence anyone who opposes his point of view,” Klein told The Blaze, speaking specifically about Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who has spearheaded the case against the couple. “Unfortunately, he’s doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back.”
Klein also delivered a message to Americans and business leaders about why he believes that his case is monumentally important.
“For years, we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody,” he said. “I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience.”
As entertaining (and lucrative) as it would be to watch Christian store owners across the nation refuse service to gay people and subsequently get fined tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a piece, the idea that Christians need to “fight back” against gay people is an unsettling thought within the context of an already hostile climate that exists towards the LGBT community.
As conservative homophobes continue to suffer historic losses in their fight against progress, the fantasy that they are the victims of religious discrimination for not being allowed to discriminate is growing. Even mainstream conservatives, including several Republican presidential candidates, have expressed the opinion that things like the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage is an assault on Christianity. In this respect, the Klein’s aren’t at all different from their mainstream counterparts in the Republican Party.
As for the Kleins recent court loss, they say they will appeal the decision because the payout could “financially ruin [their] family” and believe they will win because the judgment “flies in the face of the Constitution.” It’s the ultimate irony, because, of course, the Supreme Court just used the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to validate a law meant to protect people from being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. In other words, good luck with that defense. But hey, I guess if you’ve already lost $135,000 on hate, what’s a bit more down the drain in lawyer fees in a hopeless bid to prove a long-lost point.