The Imperative: Making Sure That Sweet Cakes’ Own Fake Narrative Doesn’t Become Accepted as Fact

You know Sweet Cakes, right?

Owned and operated by the Kleins?

The controversy began in January 2013 when the Kleins turned away Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman from their bakery, saying that providing a cake for their wedding would have violated their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.

In August 2013, the women complained to the state Bureau of Labor and Industries. The agency conducted an investigation and in January 2014 brought charges that the Kleins had unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation.

Oregon law bans discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in jobs and in places that serve the public, such as restaurants and bakeries.

And the Bureau accurately applied the law – meaning it found against the Kleins.  (The ruling is 122 pages long, one of the longest anti-discrimination administrative orders I’ve ever encountered.)

The finding included an award of $135,000 in damages to the lesbian couple – which even some gay rights activists immediately said was overkill even if the finding against the Kleins was otherwise proper.

Except that it wasn’t.

Sure, there might be an amount at which one could say overkill had been reached – but $135,000 wasn’t it.

Why?

Laurel Bowman-Cryer filed a complaint in January 2013, but because she filed it online on her smartphone she was not shown the disclaimer informing her that the complaint, including her name and address, would be sent to the individual against whom it was being made. When Aaron Klein received the complaint, he immediately published it on his Facebook page in full, with Laurel’s name and address included.

That’s right, the Kleins doxxed the Bowman-Cryers.

The Bowman-Cryers weren’t awarded $135,000 only for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of being refused service based on their sexual orientation but also as a result of the Kleins’ decision to dox them and then go on national media across the country. The media firestorm brought with it death threats, harassment, and the possibility of losing their children. The court found that the Bowman-Cryers suffered intensely, and that their suffering was a direct reaction of the Kleins’ actions both in refusing the cake and in keeping their refusal in the media.

Of course, aided and abetted, of course, by the usual right-wing suspects, the Kleins are portraying themselves as the victims.

We can’t let that narrative carry the day.

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