Administrative judge Alan McCullough for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said the Kleins violated an Oregon statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The lesbian couple will receive the funds for “emotional, mental, and physical suffering.”
Bureau prosecutors sought $75,000 for each woman – $150,000 total – during a hearing on damages in March. Under the current ruling, Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her “wife,” Laurel Bowman-Cryer, will collect $60,000. The couple testified in March to the emotional stress they attributed to their experience with Sweet Cakes, including the glare of media attention that followed.What follows are my observations on the case:
- At the time of the "offense", gay marriage was not recognized under Oregon law and such a ceremony had no legal standing or intrinsic value according to the statutes of the state.
- How can a baker cause irreparable harm by not providing a cake for an event that cannot legally occur under state law?
- According to Law.com Equity is defined as: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures to provide fairness, unhampered by the narrow strictures of the old common law or other technical requirements of the law. In essence courts do the fair thing by court orders such as correction of property lines, taking possession of assets, imposing a lien, dividing assets, or injunctive relief (ordering a person to do something) to prevent irreparable damage. What is fair about suing a person for not giving you a cake that you didn't pay for?
- What actual harm occurred to the plaintiffs in this case? According to the article part of the "emotional distress" was caused by the media attention brought on by their own complaint. The bakery didn't force them to give press conferences.
- One of the outcomes from this incident has been that the Kleins have lost business relationships with other wedding service providers and clients. Can they now sue these people for not doing business with them on the grounds of discrimination? Arguably the Kleins have suffered financial, physical and emotional harm, to a greater degree than the lesbian couple. It seems reasonable that they should be able to sue everyone else for not doing business with them under the same theory of "discrimination".
- Judge McCullough ordered that the Kleins be “rehabilitated” and “reeducated”.
- For what? Under the laws of the state of Oregon there was no such thing as gay marriage at the time of the alleged offense.
- What gives the judge the authority to rewrite an individual religious beliefs?
- Since when is a judge above the Constitution, why does he get to establish and enforce his religious preferences on citizens?
These gay marriage cases reek of a cheep publicity stunt. They are more about getting attention for gay couples and some extra cash for lawyers than they are about defending any recognizable concept of "civil rights".
I can see one set of circumstances under which a gay couple would have a legitimate law suit. It's a narrow situation but I believe legitimate. Had a baker taken money for the cake and not delivered it because it was a same sex ceremony and/or had the same baker delayed telling the couple of their decision not to provide the cake they promised until it wasn't possible to get a replacement cake, then the gay couple would have a case. The case would not be one based on the specialness of their sexual preference. It would be a standard case of breach of contract.
In such a situation, the bakers motivation for not preforming according to their explicit promise to do so could come into play when considering damages. Even if such a circumstance did exist in the Kleins case (I don't believe it did) $135,000 for not providing a cake is an outrageous sum of money.