Christian owners of a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, who were forced to close their business in 2013 due to backlash over their refusal to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding based on religious objections, were found guilty of discrimination Monday and now have to pay the couple up to $150,000 in fines.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery, Aaron and Melissa Klein, will have to pay the sapphic couple. Whether or not they pay the maximum $150,000 fine will be determined at a hearing on March 10 BOLI spokesman, Charlie Burr, told USA Today.
Laurel Bowman alleged in January 2013 that Sweet Cakes refused to sell her and her fiancée a cake for their upcoming wedding and that Aaron Klein called their relationship an "abomination unto the Lord." more >>
In what will prove to be a momentous year for marriage, the U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of cases involving marital status in four states (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) and will judge whether the citizens of these states and all others have the authority to maintain the traditional meaning of marriage or be forced to accept novel, alternative versions of the institution.
The ruling, expected to be rendered by late June, has the potential to dramatically alter marriage as we know it (and have known it for thousands of years). At stake in the matter is whether individual states and their citizenry have any say-so in determining what kinds of relationships they must certify as valid marriages.
A vast majority of states, 30 in total, have state constitutional provisions that acknowledge time-honored parameters of marriage and succinctly define it as a union between one man and one woman. The upcoming decision by the Supreme Court will inform whether states will be allowed to retain this historical understanding of marriage. more >>
A judge has ruled in favor a diocese that voted to break away from The Episcopal Church regarding a lawsuit over ownership of dozens of church properties worth an estimated $500 million.
Judge Diane Goodstein ruled late on Tuesday that the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina rightfully owns the church properties under their diocese and not the Episcopal Church.
In a 46-page decision, Goodstein argued that the diocese owns all real and personal property, according the paperwork connected to the diocesan property. "It is equally undisputed that there is nothing in the deeds of their real property referencing any trust in favor of TEC," reads the decision. more >>
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote in the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming gay marriage decision, appeared to place a high value in how the Court will affect the children of gay parents. Some of those children are now telling Kennedy and the Court that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is harmful for children.
During oral arguments for the 2013 gay marriage case Hollingsworth vs. Perry, Kennedy asked, "there is an immediate ... what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children [of same-sex parents]. There are some 40,000 children in California ... that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?"
While Kennedy presumed to know what all 40,000 of those children wanted, some children of same-sex couples now want Kennedy to know that they do not support gay marriage. more >>
The road to the big day had been long and hard-fought, but Sunday would settle everything. Those guys would leave everything on the field. Some in the crowd were cheering, some were biting their nails. But no one present could be neutral because there was too much at stake.
After all, this had become much more than a game. And then it happened. Just when there was a possibility of redemption, the worst play call in Seattle history took place and the hopes for a team legacy were dashed in mere seconds.
Of course, most people would think I've just described the infamous ending to this year's Super Bowl, but like I stated, this is much more than a game. more >>
After North Carolina's gay marriage ban was overturned by a federal judge last October, conservative state lawmakers are backing a bill that would allow county judges and court officials to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies if they hold religious objections to performing same-sex ceremonies.
The bill entitled "Magistrates Recusal of Civil Ceremonies" was introduced last Wednesday by the state's Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and is currently co-sponsored by 16 other senators. If passed, the bill will allow county magistrates and register of deeds employees to recuse themselves from performing all duties related to marriage ceremonies for at least six months due to religious objections.
Although Berger's motivation in introducing the bill is to protect court officials who hold the view that marriage should only be between one man and one woman, the bill also seeks to protect magistrates who hold religious objections to any particular kind of marriage, not just same-sex marriages. more >>