Monday, September 12, 2016

What the Oregon Baker's Lawyers are Arguing

Melissa and Aaron Klein
Just to review, In January of 2013 Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Melissa Klein and Aaron Klein refused service to a lesbian couple seeking a cake for a commitment ceremony. Aaron Klein is a vicious little prick. He told the women that their children were an abomination and then went on to quote from Leviticus.

Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) concluded that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated and fined the bakery $135,000 which the Kleins paid on December 29, 2015. As of that time, local media determined that the couple had raised $517,000 on multiple crowd-funding sites. I am sure that the sum is considerably more by now. The $135,000 is being held in escrow because the Kleins have appealed the ruling.

I got my hands on the reply brief today (see below) that was filed last Thursday (cost me three bucks, you get it for free). There is a download link at the bottom of the Scribd panel.

Here's a very brief brief of the brief or, … something like that. The first claim:
The Court must determine: Has Oregon, for example, compelled Catholics to sculpt totems for Wiccan rituals? Feminists to photograph fraternity initiations? Pro-life filmmakers to video abortions? It has not, and that ends the case.
Well, not exactly. One would think that a member of the legal profession could be more eloquent — or at least more correct. As for the Catholic in the totem biz, he probably has to make one for a Wiccan. I mean he is already making religious symbols for religions other than Catholicism. Perhaps the authors of this brief had something else in mind in which case they failed to state it. The other two examples are off point. Neither fraternity members nor people having abortions are part of a protected class under Oregon law. They can be refused service and that is entirely irrelevant.

Next we go to the compulsory speech/cake artist bullshit.
The constitutions’ Speech Clauses generally prohibit compulsion of pure speech. Because art is pure speech, BOLI tries to argue custom-designed wedding cakes are not art.
That's probably not going to fly either. I don't know how you argue that standard products that you make every day for consumption are a form of constitutionally protected art because the two names on the damned thing are the same gender. A wedding cake doesn't even have attribution to the supposed artist. The closest that anyone has come to that argument was probably the New Mexico photographer. She lost and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Which brings me to “we serve gays but our business is in opposite-sex cakes.”
BOLI misidentifies the question presented. The record is clear that Sweet Cakes sold custom-designed wedding cakes, to gay and straight customers alike, for use in opposite-sex weddings.
Please. These people are bakers. They bake cakes. How and by whom the cake is consumed is none of their business unless, of course, they have some sort of questionnaire starting with: “Have you two had sex in advance of your lovely marriage?” I could go on but you get the idea. Then, of course, is the obligatory “we did not discriminate against gay people. Our objection was to same-sex marriage.”
BOLI also concocts a new rationale for its Final Order: that the Kleins declined to design a wedding cake because of Complainants’ sexual orientation, irrespective of its facilitation of a same-sex wedding.
Please. As Christians we are not discriminating against Jews — just the interfaith wedding where the Jew marries a Christian. It's rubbish.

Further down they claim that the state violated their Free Exercise protections. In the final analysis they are seeking a religious exemption to an otherwise valid law. It is something that they are not entitled to. The Kleins can worship like a cargo cult for all I care but if they are going to have a business license then they have the same legal obligations as every other public accommodation.

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