A custom cake baker in suburban Denver can’t cite his religious convictions in declining to make a wedding cake for two men, a Colorado appeals court ruled today.
“Cake artist” Jack Phillips said he gladly serves gays and lesbians in his family business. But, Phillips said, he could not in good conscience design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple when, as a Christian, he believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that not doing so amounts to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation, Associated Press reported.
You’ll recall that Colorado is one of the states that does not recognize religious liberty as a human right:
If you live in one of the non-gray states, you’re at risk.
What’s troubling to me about this is that Phillips was defended by Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom. He is a very capable religious liberty lawyer.
The baker’s lawyer, Jeremy Tedesco, told The Daily Signal that the three judges “got it wrong on all counts” in a unanimous, 65-page opinion.
“He objects to the message, not to their protected status,” Tedesco said of the business owner’s attitude toward Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the two men who wanted him to design a wedding cake. “That’s not discrimination under the law.”
Tedesco, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, added:
Business owners have a right–especially when they’re engaged in expression, as our client is–to run their business in accordance with their beliefs. …When they’re engaged in expression, [they may] decline to create an expression that violates their convictions.
What’s interesting is that after being denied the cake, the gay couple easily went to another shop and got a cake. There was no harm done.
But that was not good enough for them, hence their decision to involve the state, and punish the Christian for choosing not to celebrate something he disagreed with.
Tedesco says that the baker should not be forced to say something that he violates his conscience:
As The Daily Signal reported, Tedesco argued that compelling Phillips to create a cake for the wedding of two men would violate his First Amendment rights not only to freedom of religion but also free speech or expression.
“The other side of the case thinks there are no First Amendment rights in the commercial context and once you open a business, you cede all First Amendment protections,” Tedesco told The Daily Signal after the hearing in Denver.
The ADF intends to appeal the case to the Colorado Supreme Court, and then to the Supreme Court of the United States. Unfortunately, since Obama won in 2008 and 2012, the Supreme Court is likely to rule against religious liberty. We’ll find out, I guess.
This article from the radically leftist Washington Post unapologetically praises public school teachers for pushing their vision of sex and marriage onto children as young as four years old.
As young children develop their understanding of the world, they tend to rely heavily on binaries. If we understand the binaries a child is working within, we can encourage that child to think of counterexamples or introduce counterexamples ourselves into the conversation. These provide useful stumbling blocks that encourage them to expand their thinking.
[…]As the year unfolded, my students continued to play at themes of love and marriage. The conversations expanded and both kids and I were able to introduce new and different stumbling blocks: One can be in love and not get married, not all married people are moms or dads, and not all moms and dads are married. The conversations shifted based on what information the kids had internalized.
The author relays an example conversation about same-sex marriage and incest marriage, which she participates in, trying to undermine the traditional views expressed by the children.
As this deeply layered conversation moved on, many points of view were stated, more questions were posed, and the children were able to articulate what they thought. I made a mental note to myself about topics to revisit, including finding a way to talk about inherited traits and Jane’s ideas about the dangers of incest. There’s always a new challenge!
[…]It’s easy to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed when children ask questions about identity, but when we don’t engage the issues involved, we are sending a message that the subjects are taboo. In terms of gender and sexuality, avoidance and silence can be particularly harmful for students who are or will later identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer) or who come from families with LGBTQ family members. Silence is not a neutral response.
Is this a conversation that you want a secular public school teacher having with your kids?
Regardless of what you do with your own kids, your tax dollars are going to be paying for these kinds of conversations. They are, in fact, undermining the natural desire of most parents under the parents’ noses. Although leftist educators tend to have fewer children than conservatives, or even no children, they can push their ideas into the next generation by running the public schools.
Public schools tend to do a woeful job of teaching the useful skills that parents really want, but they do a great job of pushing leftist values onto children, and the earlier the better. In fact, they are not being paid on the basis of whether your child learns math and science and engineering and is able to get a job. Public school teachers are paid regardless of student performance, because public schools are a monopoly. This is not a free market which service providers compete to give customers more quality for less money. Public schools are totally insulated from the demands of consumers, that’s why public school teachers are free to push whatever values they want on kids.
If you want to see how far the gay left intends to go with this, take a look at the province of Ontario, Canada, where the sex education curriculum was designed by an education minister who was convicted for child pornography. The Ontario premier is a lesbian, and she is a strong defender of that sex education curriculum, over and against the protests of traditional-minded parents. But somehow, she got elected, and somehow, the child-pornographer became the minister of education. Somebody decided that he was the right person for the job, and somebody decided that public school teachers have a right to push his curriculum on children. And the taxpayers are paying for this indoctrination of young, impressionable kids.
In rural, small-town Iowa, a group of parents and community leaders is seeking to prevent students from the local taxpayer-funded middle school and high school from attending future versions of an anti–bullying conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.
The last one — in April — left many of the denizens of Humboldt, Iowa up in arms, reports Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV.
Iowa Safe Schools, an activist group out of Des Moines, hosted the conference.
[…]Among the nearly two dozen speakers, “only two” addressed bullying, one attendee estimated, according to EAGnews.org.
The rest of the sessions involved issues such as “how to pleasure their gay partners.”
Middle school girls from Humboldt (pop.: 4,690) had the opportunity to learn “how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys.”
One speaker wore a dress made out of condoms to which could be “used as needed.” . . .
Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, said parents who worry about middle school kids hearing about anal sex with strap-ons and analingus are “disgusting.”
“It’s incredibly frustrating that adults are being the problem and being the bully,” Monson told the Des Moines NBC affiliate. “
The mission statement of “Iowa Safe Schools” makes it clear that this is about pushing early sexual activity and the broader gay agenda onto children in the public schools:
The mission of Iowa Safe Schools is to: a) improve school climate in order to increase the personal safety, mental health, and student learning of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied (LGBTA) and all other students; b) increase awareness and understanding among current and future educators, school administrators, and key community agents of inequities regarding the safety of LGBTA students and their family member(s) in schools and communities throughout Iowa. Iowa Safe Schools also seeks to empower these key actors with effective, research-based tools and strategies to combat intolerance and safety inequities.
That’s what’s happening in public schools. Should we be voting to send more money to these public schools? Will more money result in kids having better math, science and engineering skills? It seems to me that public schools have nothing to do with teaching math, science and engineering, and everything to do with normalizing the gay lifestyle, against the wishes of most traditional parents. Make sure that when you are voting, you vote for school choice, not a government-run public school monopoly. Let parents get the money, and let the parents decide where to send their kids based on what the kids need to learn valuable skills and get real jobs.
Hoping to harness the momentum generated by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing gay marriage, congressional Democrats on Thursday unveiled sweeping legislation that would extend additional rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The Equality Act – introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in the upper chamber and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., in the House – seeks to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections against racial and sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
[…]The measure would prohibit discrimination against LGBT persons in categories ranging from employment and housing to education and jury service, and would broaden where discrimination would be illegal in a “public accommodation” to include everything from shopping centers and banks to travel agencies and funeral parlors.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for greater LGBT rights, 31 states do not have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill has 190 Democrats sponsors, and 0 Republican sponsors.
In a previous post, I explained that only states that have “non-discrimination” laws are able to punish Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc. We are seeing the punishment of pro-marriage people in the states with these “non-discrimination” laws, e.g. – Oregon, New Mexico, Washington and so on. See the map below for more.
But this “Equality Act” bill would make all 50 states allow these kinds of punishments against people who disagree with same-sex marriage. The laws really are anti-religious-liberty laws, because they force you to agree with the gay agenda, or else face consequences. They force you to violate your conscience, just because you don’t agree with redefining marriage. If this law passes, it means that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage being the same as child-centered natural marriage would be a potential target for the federal government.
Marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson writes about a new law crafted by the Human Rights Campaign, which I’ll talk more about later.
Politico is reporting that the so-called “Equality Act” will be introduced today in Congress. The bill is the brainchild of the Human Rights Campaign—an influential, sophisticated and lavishly funded LGBT activist organization.
The “Equality Act” is a misnomer. The bill does not protect equality before the law, but unnecessarily and unjustly violates freedom by creating special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This proposed legislation would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) to more or less every federal law that protects on the basis of race. It goes well beyond the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—which would have added SOGI only to employment law.
ENDA, which was first introduced in Congress in 1994, has been defeated each and every Congress. When it was first introduced, ENDA included only “sexual orientation,” but in 2007 “gender identity” was added to the bill. Thankfully, ENDA has never been made law.
Nevertheless, having expanded the bill from including sexual orientation to also including gender identity, activists have also extended this misguided policy well beyond employment—to “credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations.” These SOGI laws must be resisted, as I explain in chapter six of my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”
The Advocate reports that the “Equality Act’s” special privileges would apply to “public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend” people who believe that marriage is the union of man and woman. That’s right: the bill says that religious freedom needs to take a back seat to special SOGI protections.
The Advocate also reports that the “Equality Act” would require that “sex-segregated facilities must admit individuals in accordance to their gender identity.” That’s right: the bill would require biological males who identify as women to be able to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
[…]SOGI laws can have serious unintended consequences. They threaten small-business owners with liability for alleged “discrimination” based not on objective traits, but on subjective and unverifiable identities. They expand state interference in labor markets, potentially discouraging job creation. They endanger religious liberty and freedom of speech. And they mandate employment policies that, with regard to many workplace conditions, violate common sense.
The ENDA bill is a nightmare for religious liberty. If Anderson thinks this bill is worse, that should tell you something about how far the left is willing to go to compel celebration of same-sex marriage.
I want to remind my readers of two things about the Human Rights Campaign, which Anderson said is behind the bill.
Second, after a gay activist named Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council with guns, the Human Rights Campaign pronounced the Family Research Council a “hate group”. The FRC is a respected conservative, pro-life, pro-family think tank. Corkins was convicted for domestic terrorism for attacking them with guns. And the HRC called the FRC a “hate group”, even after the attack. And now they are supporting this “Equality Act” bill.
A follow up on the story about the criminal charges against Terry Bean – prominent gay activist, Democrat donor, and co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign – from Oregon Live.
A Lane County judge denied gay activist Terry Bean’s request Thursday to settle child sex abuse charges by compensating the underage victim.
Bean, 66, and his former boyfriend, Kiah Loy Lawson, 25, are accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy at a Eugene hotel in 2013.
They each are charged with two counts of third-degree sodomy, a felony, and third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.
Bean, who lives in Portland and is a prominent political fundraiser, proposed a civil compromise that could result in the dismissal of the criminal charges. Had the request been granted, the criminal charges against Bean would have been dismissed.
Time to review who Terry Bean is, using my previous post about the initial filing of charges.
Let’s review the details of the original charges from Oregon Live:
The former boyfriend of Terrence P. Bean was arrested early Thursday on sex abuse charges stemming from the same alleged 2013 encounter with a 15-year-old boy at a hotel in Eugene.
Kiah Loy Lawson, 25, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. at the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center shortly after 2 a.m.
He’s accused of third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse.
[…]The indictment charges Bean with two counts of third-degree sodomy, a felony, and one count of third-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor, police said.
[…]Both Bean and Lawson are accused of having a sexual encounter with the same 15-year-old boy in a hotel in Eugene last year. They had arranged the encounter with the teen after meeting him via a website, investigators allege.
[…]Bean has been one of the state’s biggest Democratic donors and an influential figure in gay rights circles in the state. He helped found two major national political groups, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and has been a major contributor for several Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama. He’s also a close friend of former Gov. Barbara Roberts.
Here is his biography from his web site:
Terry Bean is a native Oregonian, successful real estate developer, and President and CEO of Bean Investment Real Estate, a private company that trades and invests in commercial real estate as well as large residential complexes. Along with these badges of honor, Terry Bean is often first recognized as a pioneer in the national civil rights movement, promoting full equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning communities. (GLBTQ)
Terry Bean is so well regarded as an activist that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski declared August 23, 2008, to be “Terry Bean Equality Day” in recognition for the work he has done on LGBT rights causes since the 1970’s.
A pioneer in the movement, Terry Bean, started advocating politically for gay rights in the early 1970′s in Eugene, Oregon. Early successes resulted in the passing of a city gay rights ordinance, which, while was later overturned by voters, set the framework for grassroot organizations and strategies which quickly followed—establishing a pattern of victories which have continued well into the new millennium.
In 1979, Bean helped to organize the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the first such highly visible effort to empower a minority while educating a majority.
After the march on Washington, Terry Bean turned his focus to the national level co-founding the Gay Rights National Lobby and the Human Rights Campaign Fund. These groups merged to become today’s Human Rights Campaign – HRC.
The Human Rights Campaign is the nation’s largest gay rights organization.
Barack Obama supports the Human Rights Campaign:
Hillary Clinton also supports the Human Rights Campaign:
The Democrat Party is on board with the gay agenda.
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian on Thursday ordered the owners of a former Gresham bakery to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake.
Avakian’s ruling upheld a preliminary finding earlier this year that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa had discriminated against the women on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Bakery owners Melissa and Aaron Klein cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in denying service.
[…]Avakian’s final order makes clear that serving potential customers equally trumps the Kleins’ religious beliefs.
[…]The commissioner ordered the Kleins to pay $75,000 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer and $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer. His ruling may be appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
In addition to the fine, there were other consequences for the Kleins:
The Sweet Cakes by Melissa car was vandalized and broken into twice. Photographers and florists severed ties with the company, eventually forcing Sweet Cakes to close the Gresham shop in September 2013. The business now operates out of the couple’s home in Sandy.
In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
Compare that with a similar case from Canada, where a Canadian pastor who disagreed with homosexuality was also issued with a gag order.
This is why I always put such a high emphasis on using aliases and making education and career decisions that allow you to accumulate money for your legal defense. There was a time in this country when being a Christian was free. It is no longer that time. And most Americans are not going to lift a finger to protect us. We are on our own. You need to be careful with your money, to prepare for the day when you are fined $135,000 for the crime of acting as if Christianity is true.
Consider this verse, which is one of my life verses:
28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
I do not say this proudly. I am not as strong in my career or savings as I would like to be. But I am constantly meeting young men and especially young women who think that the Bible is giving them license to do whatever their heart is telling them, irrespective of stewardship. But we cannot afford to ignore stewardship of money any more. We are beyond doing what is easy and fun now. We are beyond doing what makes us happy now. Don’t expect that God will rescue you from a lack of prudence.