Here’s another one of those stories that goes beyond the realm of common sense and makes you just shake your head. Hat tip to Joe Saunders at BizPac Review for bringing us the story of Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon. The co-owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa have drawn the ire and nearly a year of harassment form gay rights activist groups. Their offense, as BizPac reports, is that the declined to make a cake for a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage. They’ve been found guilty in a state investigation of violating the women’s rights – even though Oregon doesn’t even permit gay marriage.
According to the state, businesses may not deny service to customers because of sexual orientation. But that’s not what the Kleins say they did. They say the women have been customers before; the Kleins say they refused to service a gay wedding for religious reasons.
You mean to tell me there’s only one place to get a wedding cake done in all of Portland, Oregon? Seems to me the Kleins were targeted by the lesbian couple for political reasons. If indeed they had previously been patrons of the business and were served, then the Kleins simply declined to do the wedding cake because of their freedom of religion and expression.
We are entering a dangerous phase in America where businesses are being punished for their beliefs — case in point, the Obama administration’s attack on Hobby Lobby.
The Kleins are not the first to run into this situation, as the same thing happened to a New Mexico photographer, Elaine Huguenin, who declined to shoot the wedding of lesbian couple Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth. As reported by the UK Daily Mail,
The women then filed a discrimination lawsuit again Ms Huguenin. New Mexico law prohibits businesses from discriminating against people based on their sexuality. Ms Huguenin and her business Elaine Photography have so far lost the discrimination case in the courts. However she is now bringing her battle to the Supreme Court, claiming that being forced to photograph the love story of a lesbian couple violates her right to free speech and her deeply-held Christian beliefs.
Most disturbing is this statement by Louise Melling, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union who told the New York Times that “although it was a difficult case, the equal treatment of same-sex couples is more important than the photographer’s business.”
The message from these two cases seem to be quite clear: there is no freedom of religion or practice of beliefs for Christian business owners. The politics of pandering to a loud, vocal minority based on their own private sexual choices are more important.
If this continues to be the case in America, are we promoting free market enterprise, only so long as it operates within a certain politicized agenda? Common sense free market principles would say, open up bakeries and photography studios within the gay community that are tailored to that clientele, based on supply and demand.
Instead, one group seeks to punish another for not accepting its lifestyle choice. Furthermore, if the government is supposed to stay out of the bedroom, then why is the government making regulations and rules, telling business owners what they must do based on what others have chosen to do in their private lives?
Sadly, the Kleins have learned how supposedly tolerant the Left and gay community are. After a year of hate-filled, threatening emails and canceled contracts – even a break-in of their company truck, they’ve closed the bakery and now operate out of their home.
This is just wrong in so many ways and don’t try to argue that gay rights are the new civil rights battle. Sexual behavior is not the same as race.