Big cash bonanza for nasty Oregon bigots
An estimated $210,000 has been raised to cover damages that Aaron and Melissa Klein – former owners of Sweet Cakes bakery in Oregon – were ordered to pay to a lesbian couple who were refused a wedding cake back in 2013.
The amount far exceeds the $135,000 the couple have been ordered to pay. This, according to Christian commentators, is an extortionate punishment for a couple who did nothing other than to stick to their Christians principles.
According to one fund-raising appeal, the Kleins are:
Pioneers in standing strong for the Lord and have been very courageous and steadfast throughout this whole ordeal.
But the crybaby Kleins went a great deal further than simply denying the Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman a cake.
After a complaint was lodged by Cryer and Bowman with the Department of Justice and then with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), the Kleins – according to this in-depth analysis of the case – “doxxed” Cryer and Bowman by vindictively revealing their personal details online.
When Aaron Klein got wind of the complaint, he immediately published it on his Facebook page in full, with Laurel’s name and address included. This, in turn, sparked a sustained hate campaign, spearheaded by Christian zealots, against the two women
Rachel Bowman-Cryer disclosed that she and Laurel felt an even greater level of stress because they were the foster parents of two young girls and feared they might lose the children.
She said they had spoken to state adoption officials who told them it was the couple’s responsibility to protect the children and keep privileged information confidential, even as their own privacy was threatened by news coverage of the case.
Officials told the Bowman-Cryers that if they couldn’t protect the foster children in their home from the harassment that resulted from the Klein’s public posting of their home address, they could lose the children they were trying to adopt.
A week after the story hit the media, the Bowman-Cryers’ lawyer sent out a press release stating that the Bowman-Cryers would not be doing any interviews, and that they they only had need of the support of their local community.
The press release stated that any donations should go to Pride Northwest and asked everyone to respect their privacy. In other words, the Bowman-Cryers did everything they could not to involve the national media or national gay rights organisations. The Bowman-Cryers were not involved in local protest and boycott efforts.
In fact, the press released asked that even their names not be printed.
The BOLI Final Order awarded $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination. The amounts are damages related to the harm suffered by the complainants, not fines or civil penalties which are punitive in nature.
According to the Christian Post, although the Kleins’ fundraiser began with an initial goal of raising $150,000, but they have raised at least $210,000.
This money came from evangelist Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and ContinueToGive.com, a “faith based online tithing and giving platform founded on biblical principles” devoted to helping churches, missionaries, non-profits, individuals and adopting parents.
The latter fundraiser states:
Let’s help the Kleins through this hard time as they fight for religious freedom; which they are not just fighting for themselves but for all of us as our freedoms are threatened.
They have been struggling financially ever since they were forced to close the doors of their bakery in 2013 as their income was basically cut in half.
If they are forced to pay the damages to the lesbian couple they will be in much worse shape than they are now.
Although they have raised money online, Aaron said he picked up a job as a garbage collector after the closing of the bakery to help make ends meet.
The Kleins are expected to appeal the damages award.