First they came for the bakers: Oregonians seek religious freedom referendum

Thursday, March 13, 2014
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Christians in Oregon are struggling to get appropriate ballot language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect them from homosexual activists.

Friends of Religious Freedom is going through the process of getting the proposal on the ballot to let voters decide. Friends is part of the Oregon Family Council

Teresa Harke, a spokesperson for the group, says the group is having trouble getting appropriate ballot language from the state Attorney General's Office.

The state office gave the group what Harke describes as a "not very good ballot title."

The Oregonian newspaper reported the title for the initiative basically adopts the wording sought by opponents of the measure – homosexual activists. The current ballot title reads:

       “Religious belief” exceptions to anti-discrimination laws for refusing services, other, for same-sex ceremonies, “arrangements”

Friends of Religious Freedom opposes any reference to discrimination in the wording.

"So now we're in the public comment section, where we say what we think it should be and other folks chime in on what they think it should be," Harke explains.

Eventually there will be an approved ballot title, "and we're hoping for a good ballot title," she says.

Harke says the intention is to protect people's religious beliefs if they provide a service that violates that faith, especially for homosexual weddings and civil unions.

An example in Oregon is Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery sued by homosexuals, and found guilty of discrimination by the state of Oregon, for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual "wedding."

The bakery was forced to close its store-front business last fall, citing "mafia-style tactics" by homosexuals that included contacting the bakery's vendors. 

Bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein are working from home.  

On their Facebook page, the Kleins state they are receiving donations for legal expenses and thank supporters for helping.

The Facebook page has many comments supportive of Sweet Cakes, though one post calls the Kleins "delusional bigots" for refusing to bake the wedding cake.

"Just bake the cakes and keep your mouth shut," reads the comment.

If Harke and Friends of Religious Freedom are not satisfied with the language, a final decision can be sought from the state Supreme Court.

Harke adds the amendment is important since the attorney general recently announced she would not defend the state's marriage amendment.

Meanwhile, proponents of same-sex marriage in Oregon are working on a ballot initiative to overturn the marriage amendment. 

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