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Judge Recommends $135,000 Fine for Oregon Bakers Who Discriminated Against Gay Couple

Sweet cakes

Gresham, Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein may be facing a fine of $135,000 for turning down a lesbian couple's wedding cake request back in January 2013, The Oregonian reports:

Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a proposed order released Friday, April 24. [...]

Anna Harmon, one of three attorneys representing the Kleins, said, "It's a shocking result and it shows the state's relentless campaign to punish Oregonians who live and work according to their faith."

"The important thing to realize is this," she added, "This is real money that Aaron and Melissa are going to have to pay that otherwise would be used to pay their mortgage and feed their kids."

Lars Larson, the Portland-based talk radio host who broke the story more than two years ago, tweeted about the case Friday. He said, "Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa need your help w/ a devastating fine from the state of Oregon," and linked to a fundraising site for the couple.

A "Support Sweet Cakes by Mellissa" GoFundMe page launched Friday quickly raised $110,000 for the bakery before being taken down for violating the site's Terms and Conditions.

Via GoFundMe:

 "After careful review by our team, we have found the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled."


SCOTUS Rejects Final NOM Attempt to Undo Oregon Marriage Equality Ruling

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On Monday the Supreme Court shot down the National Organization of Marriage’s latest appeal meant to challenge U.S. District Judge Michael McShane’s ruling that allows Oregon’s same sex couples to wed. Previously McShane took action to declare Oregon’s ban on same sex marriage, which was passed via referendum, unconstitutional.

"It's a good day," said Lake Perriguey, the Portland-based attorney responsible for handling one of the lawsuits that resulted in McShane’s decision, told the Oregonian. "It's a distraction we don't have to worry about anymore."

Because Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has similarly come out in support of same sex marriage in the state meaning that there’s little to no chance that that McShane’s ruling can currently be appealed. As NOM chairman John Eastman explained, however, the organization still has the potential to fight marriage equality in Oregon thanks to four upcoming Supreme Court cases challenging the bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

According to Eastman, should the Justices ultimately rule that any of the four states are within their right to oppose gay marriage, NOM or another organization will be in a prime position to compel Rosenblum to challenge McShane’s decision. The Supreme Court is set to hear the four upcoming casts on the 28th of April.


Oregon 2014 'Teacher Of The Year' Says He Was Fired For Being Openly Gay: VIDEO

Brett Brigham

Oregon’s 2014 Teacher of the Year Brett Bigham has alleged that he was fired by his school district last Friday after speaking openly about being gay, reports KPTV.com.

Special education teacher Bigham, who was already on administrative leave, says that the district’s response to his openness has been less than positive. He claims that he was told to stop speaking publicly and has been threatened and blackmailed with termination more than 30 times.

Bigham said:

“So basically it comes down to two choices. I can be the gay teacher who came out, who was told by his district not to speak and was crushed, or I could be the teacher who came out and was told by his district not to say he was gay and fought back for my First Amendment rights and the honest truth is, the gay part of this is very small. It's one person making three statements to me, the retaliation is the issue.”

Although a district investigator has found no proof of allegations of discrimination, Bigham says he has proof in emails.

According to the district, Bigham was dismissed because he had missed class time.

Multnomah Education Service District says although he was given extended paid leave to speak at Teacher of the Year events, he continued to miss class time after he was expected to return to work in the fall of 2014. The district also says he declined mediation with the school when they tried to remedy the problem.

In a statement, Interim Superintendent Jim Rose said:

“It was a difficult decision and not what we hoped for. Brett is a great teacher. Unfortunately, it became clear over time that Brett's focus was no longer his classroom and students.”

Watch a report and interview with Bigham, AFTER THE JUMP...

In January, Charlotte Roman Catholic diocese, North Carolina fired teacher Lonnie Billard after he announced his engagement on Facebook.

Continue reading "Oregon 2014 'Teacher Of The Year' Says He Was Fired For Being Openly Gay: VIDEO" »


Oregon House Of Representatives Passes Measure Outlawing Conversion Therapy

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The Oregon House voted on Tuesday to outlaw the dangerous practice of conversion therapy, with several lawmakers arguing the practice is heavily discredited and can cause irreparable emotional and mental damage reports KATU.com. The passage of HB 2307 makes it illegal for social workers or licensed mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists, to practice conversion therapy on children under the age of 18 in the state of Oregon. The bill even received support from Rep. Knute Buehler, a Bend Republican.

Said Buehler:  

"Conversion therapy itself can cause incredible emotional and mental trauma to people, particularly young people in the process of coming to terms with their sexual identities."

The measure passed 41-18 and now heads to the Senate. New Jersey and California recently passed laws banning the dangerous therapy with Federal appeals courts upholding the bans. However, others such as Rep. Duane Stark, a Republican from Grants Pass who voted against the bill, felt there should be an opt-in option for the treatment should youth choose to pursue the treatment on their own volition.

Said Stark: 

"It's a normal, common practice that when people come in they can request from their therapist what sort of therapy they want to receive. I felt like there should be some sort of opt-in option for youth and empower them in that client-centered therapy."

However, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have both condemned the dangerous therapy, with proponents of the bill saying the therapy leads to anxiety, depression and destructive behaviors in children. 


Gordon Klingenschmitt: Homophobic Bakers are 'Blessing' Gay Couples for Refusing to 'Participate in Sodomy' - VIDEO

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Demon-obsessed homophobe, religious zealot and Colorado House of Representatives embarrassment Gordon Klingenschmitt has said the bakery owners in Oregon who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple are “a blessing” to gay people because they refuse “to participate in their acts of sodomy."

Speaking on his unhinged “Pray In Jesus Name” show, Klingenschmitt started with the conspiracy theories, arguing that the government is out to bankrupt Christian business owners.

He continued that bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein "are being persecuted for righteousness sake" because they “are not going to endorse” a sin that is “harmful to you in the homosexual community.”

Watch via Right Wing Watch as Klingenschmitt prays for your damned soul, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gordon Klingenschmitt: Homophobic Bakers are 'Blessing' Gay Couples for Refusing to 'Participate in Sodomy' - VIDEO" »


WATCH: Kate Brown Sworn in as the Nation's First Openly Bisexual Governor

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The state of Oregon inaugurated the nation's first openly bisexual governor yesterday when former Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was sworn in. Gov. Brown replaces former Gov. John Kitzhaber who resigned in disgrace amid an influence peddling investigation that includes his fiancée Cylvia Hayes. Brown addressed the issue in her inauguration speech:

"Governor Kitzhaber dedicated most of his life to serving the people of Oregon. His contributions to our state are well woven into the fabric of our public life. But now, we must restore the public's trust. 

"It's been a tough few months. The people of Oregon have had reason to question their trust in state government. Oregon has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons. That changes starting today. It's time for use to get back to work. It's time to move Oregon forward."

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 6.01.45 AMBrown, 54, cited her husband, Dan Little (right), as her "rock," at her inauguration. News accounts have long said Brown is married but considers herself bisexual, without saying more. Brown married Little in 1997 and both live in Southeast Portland. They have two adult children from Little’s previous marriage.

Watch Gov. Brown’s inauguration speech, AFTER THE JUMP

The nation (briefly) had its first openly gay governor back in 2004 with New Jersey's Jim McGreevey. McGreevey resigned three months after making the announcement following a sex scandal. 

 

Continue reading "WATCH: Kate Brown Sworn in as the Nation's First Openly Bisexual Governor" »


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