Monday, April 27, 2015

Na'famboka siha kek

The issue of gay marriage is really being push right now in Guam. There seems to be a much broader support for it as opposed to a few years ago. There is still some resistance, especially on religious grounds. I haven't seen any reports yet on whether or not local bakeries are supporting or fighting this issue. This is intriguing because as you can see from the reports below, cakes, the making of, the selling of, the religious freedom involved in deciding who you do and do not make cakes for, has become a ground zero of sorts

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This Bakery Refused to Serve a Same-Sex Couple and It May Cost Them $135,000
Published: April 26, 2015 | Authors: | Think Progress | News Report 

A bakery that turned away a lesbian couple looking to buy a cake for their wedding will have to pay them an award of possibly $135,000 for emotional damages, a hearings officer said Friday. The sum is recommended by an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), but it could change before a final decision is made.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to sell a wedding cake to Oregon couple Rachel Bowman-Cryer and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in 2013, saying it went against their religious beliefs to contribute to a same-sex wedding. The BOLI investigation found that the company’s refusal violated the state’s nondiscrimination ordinance. While the prosecutors were originally seeking $150,000 for the couple, the law judge recommended that Rachel should collect $75,000 and Laurel $60,000 for emotional damages. Rachel and her mother were turned away after setting up a cake tasting with the bakers, and Laurel was not present — a fact the defense tried to argue meant she did not have standing in the complaint.

Owners Melissa and Aaron Klein quickly became heroes to the anti-LGBT conservative Christian community, and are often held up as proof that LGBT rights infringe on religious liberty. They closed down their storefront after intense backlash and now operate their business out of their home.
After the judge’s proposed order was released, the couple posted a statement on Facebook, saying, “This amount will financially ruin us. Our government was put in place to protect the people not to punish people because of their faith.” A GoFundMe crowdfunding page in support of the bakery was deleted after raising $109,000 on Friday, as GoFundMe’s terms of service do not allow fundraising for people found in violation of the law.

The bakers have ten days to file objections to the order, according to their attorney. The Labor Commissioner will then decide if the amount should be raised, lowered, or remain at $135,000.
More localities and states are adopting nondiscrimination ordinances like Oregon’s, which protect people from being fired or refused services on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. At the same time, “license to discriminate” bills and religious freedom protections are becoming popular with conservative lawmakers to shield businesses that wish to discriminate against LGBT people. Recent uproar against such laws in Indiana, Arkansas, Arizona, Oregon, and Georgia succeeded in defeating overt allowances for discrimination. But without nondiscrimination laws, which only 17 states have adopted, many more Americans will be turned away from private businesses, fired, and denied housing solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

BIO: Aviva Shen is Senior Editor of ThinkProgress. Aviva's work has appeared in outlets including Smithsonian Magazine, Salon, and New York Magazine. She also worked for the Slate Political Gabfest, a weekly politics podcast from Slate Magazine. Previously, she was part of the new media team in Ohio for the 2008 Obama campaign. Aviva received a B.A. in English and Writing from Barnard College.

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Court Rules Bakery Illegally Discriminated Against Gay Couple

A Colorado judge today determined that a Lakewood bakery unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

Source: ACLU

David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop last year, with Craig’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home in Colorado. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs the store’s policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding.
“Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration,” said Mullins. “No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are. We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today’s decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado.”
Longstanding Colorado state law prohibits public accommodations, including businesses such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on factors such as race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation. Mullins and Craig filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) contending that Masterpiece had violated this law. Earlier this year, the CCRD ruled that Phillips illegally discriminated against Mullins and Craig. Today’s decision from Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts affirms that finding.
“While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers,” said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “No one is asking Masterpiece’s owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.”
Phillips admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy. The CCRD’s decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the “marriage” of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration “just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake.”
“Masterpiece Cakeshop has willfully and repeatedly considered itself above the law when it comes to discriminating against customers, and the state has rightly determined otherwise,” said Sara R. Neel, staff attorney with the ACLU of Colorado. “It’s important for all Coloradans to be treated fairly by every business that is open to the public – that’s good for business and good for the community.”

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Christian baker being sued over refusal to make Bert and Ernie-themed gay marriage cake says she 'knew in her heart' she couldn't complete the order 

  • The owner of a Christian bakery refused to make a pro-gay marriage cake
  • Gay rights activist Gareth Lee's order for Bert and Ernie cake was declined 
  • Karen McArthur told court she 'knew in her heart' she couldn't bake cake
  • Lawyer for equality campaigners says religious refusal was unlawful

A Christian baker who refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan has said she 'knew in her heart' she could not make the order.
Belfast-based Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake featuring an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto 'Support Gay Marriage'. 
Karen McArthur, one of the owners, gave evidence on the second day of the high-profile legal action being heard in Belfast's County Court.
Mrs McArthur told the court: 'I knew in my heart that I could not put that message on the cake.'
Northern Ireland's Equality Commission took the case against family-run Ashers Bakery on behalf a gay rights activist customer whose order was declined.
Gareth Lee, a volunteer member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, claimed he was left feeling like a 'lesser person' when his order was turned down.
It had been ordered for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Mr Lee told the court yesterday that he was left 'shocked' and in 'disbelief' when Mrs McArthur rang him and told him she would not be processing the order he had already paid for. 
Today Mrs McArthur told the court: 'The problem was with the message on the cake because, as a Christian, I do not support gay marriage.'
District judge Isobel Brownlie heard that nine members of the McArthur family work in the business, which makes and delivers cakes across the UK and Ireland.
Mrs McArthur and her husband Colin, who belong to Dunseverick Baptist Church, are the only shareholders with voting rights on how the company is run. 
Under cross-examination from Robin Allen QC, Mrs McArthur told the court she had been a born-again Christian since the age of seven and 'sought to please God' in how she led her life.
She claimed she only took the order from Mr Lee in order to avoid a confrontation.
'I did not want to embarrass him or have a confrontation in the bakery,' Mrs McArthur told the court.
Public opinion on the landmark civil case has been split in Northern Ireland and beyond.
The Equality Commission, which monitors compliance with equality laws in the region, initially asked for the bakery to acknowledge it had breached legislation and offer 'modest' damages to the customer.

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Get Over it and Bake
By + More
From US News and World Report
 
I long for the days when the customer was always right.
Mind you, I do not like the concept in its Frankenstein, perverse extreme, with buyers demanding discounts from store clerks who don’t have the authority to offer one (and where a discount serves no purpose other than to make the customer feel he or she is a superior negotiator). It’s cringe-inducing to see restaurant patrons make unreasonable demands on the kitchen, or to treat the waitstaff as though they are indentured servants.
But when it comes to certain sorts of services – weddings, being a primary one – the balance of power seems to have shifted, with those being paid to provide a service believing they somehow have a right to weigh in on the service or the customers themselves.

So to the wedding planners and cake-bakers and flower-arrangers who don’t like the idea of providing a service to a same-sex wedding, here’s a stark truth: People, you were not invited to the wedding.
Those who are actually invited to weddings get to weigh in, and then, only minimally. If you receive an invitation to a wedding, you can make a statement. (Hint, wedding industry people – such a document will be addressed to you personally in fancy script, and offer no cash in exchange for you showing up. In fact, you will be the one expected to bring a gift.)
If you don’t approve of same-sex marriage, or think the groom is a bum or the bride is a nincompoop, then send your regrets. If you’re related to a member of the wedding party and feel like making a splash that will alter your relationships permanently, well, then get up and object during the service. Or give a drunken speech in which you recount all the flaws and bad past behavior of one or both members of the couple. But if you’re the hired help, you don’t get that privilege.
Perhaps it’s the slew of silly movies about weddings (“The Wedding Planner” comes to mind) that give people in the industry the idea that they are some sort of group authority figure. This happens sometimes in other service areas – most women have a story of a hairdresser who insists her client should wear her hair a certain way, or of a store clerk who declares to a complete stranger of a customer, “it’s you,” when said customer tries on a suit. But weddings do bring out the crazy in people, and that crazy has unfortunately extended to people who are only involved in the event on a commercial basis.
The battle over what is more powerful – the right to express one’s religion or the right to live one’s own life without being discriminated against – has religious rights advocates bizarrely singling out wedding cake-bakers as some sort of protected class. If a baker doesn’t approve of gay marriage on religious grounds – for some reason, the point of view is not being defended under any other grounds, such as pure bigotry – then that person should not be forced to honor that couple with a cake.

There would be some merit to that argument if the cake was a gift, but it’s not. It’s a product for sale to the public at large. What if a restauranteur didn’t want to seat a same-sex couple at one of his tables? Or what if a landlord refused to rent to a single mother? Not the same thing, say the baker defenders, since making a cake for a wedding couple is an implicit endorsement of that union.
But that is the flaw in the argument, and it obviates the need to even get into a discussion about whether religion gives people the right to violate anti-discrimination laws. Wedding industry people, get over yourselves. You are not family or friends of the wedding couple. They didn’t seek your services because they desperately want you present when they are taking their vows. In fact, they’d prefer you to be out of sight and quiet. You can put little bows and flowers on your creations, but you are still a businessperson selling a product. If you are asked to bake a cake or plan a wedding, do your job, get your check and go back to the office or bakery. Your service does not include pre-marital counseling. 
 
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Owners who refused cake for gay couple close shop

INDIANAPOLIS — A bakery that drew protests for refusing to prepare a cake for a gay couple has closed its doors.
The 111 Cakery was still profitable, said co-owner Randy McGath. But McGath's 45-year-old wife, Trish, did most of the baking and wanted more time to spend with the couple's four grandchildren.
The business "was wearing her out," her husband said. She has been taking a break from working since Dec. 31 when the bakery went out of business, he said.
In March the McGaths faced a firestorm of protest after declining a request to bake a cake for a commitment ceremony for two men. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Indiana since Oct. 7.
A TV station here broadcast the story of the rejection, and the next day Facebook and Twitter hummed with outrage. The flap led to a single picketer urging a bakery boycott, but many nearby residents were on his side.
The bakery was at the intersection of 16th and Talbott streets, a hub of gay culture for decades. At least three long-established gay bars are just blocks away.
However, others seemed to applaud the bakery's stand, traveling long distances for pastries.

"We had people from all over — from Brownsburg and Lafayette," 15 and 60 miles away, said Randy McGath, 48.
The ensuing sales spike lasted three or four months. But McGath insisted sales never dipped below their pre-flap levels.
McGath said he and his wife, who attend a Baptist church, were well aware of the neighborhood's gay culture when they opened their bakery there in 2012. They served the gay community gladly for several years but "just didn't want to be party to a commitment ceremony" because such an event reflected "a commitment to sin."

Despite McGath's views his discourse remained civil even in talks with his most virulent critic, the lone picketer Todd Fuqua, both he and Fuqua said.
"There was zero hate here," said McGath, who is now selling recreational vehicles. "We were just trying to be right with our God. I was able to speak to many homosexuals in the community and to speak our opinion and have a civil conversation. I'm still in touch with some."
 

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