Most of what you’ve heard about those anti-gay bakers in Oregon being fined for not selling a wedding cake to a gay couple was wrong.
Ever since the couple filed their complaint in 2013, the case has attracted widespread media attention – but that was mainly due to the efforts of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
When the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ordered the bakery be fined last week, Aaron Klein perpetuated once again the mantra that the ruling was another example of “persecution of Christians” in America.
But the ruling clearly demonstrated that it was the bakery’s owners that had done the persecuting, bringing the case to the media’s attention and “repeatedly appearing in public to make statements deriding” the couple who initially filed the complaint.
The Kleins then took to the news and media. They cozied up to anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, campaigning at appallingly anti-gay hate rallies, for their business’ totally-fictional right to discriminate against LGBT people.
After filing the discrimination complaint, the Bowman-Cryers became the victims of death threats — as well as outrageous and horrific claims by conservative media outlets and anti-gay groups.
After the ruling was finalized, in stories about the discrimination case, some right wing sites, and some anti-gay users of social media depicted gays, and implicitly the Bowman-Cryers, as fascists, the BOLI as the “Minister of Thoughtcrime,” and the $135,000 fine as a “gay fascism tax.”
All Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer wanted was a cake for their wedding. When they were denied and dared to protest, they were hauled into the public eye by the bakery’s owners and virtually attacked by an anti-gay mob.
From Oregon Live:
In testimony Tuesday, Rachel Bowman-Cryer said she and her wife received death threats as media attention and criticism from strangers escalated in the months after the story went national in January 2013.
She said the threats were part of a stream of “hateful, hurtful things” that came after the couple’s contact information (home address, phone and email) was posted on Aaron Klein’s personal Facebook page. She said she feared for her life and her wife’s life.
“It was foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact [the Bowman-Cryers], making [the Kleins] liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by [the Bowman-Cryers],” the ruling read.
The bureau found the Kleins liable for the threats against the couple as a result of them sharing the couple’s personal information, and awarded them to pay “$60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for emotional suffering.”
Featured image: FRC/Ron Walters and Light Productions Photography, h/t The Raw Story