- The Magazine
Jesse Bartholomew’s video rant is making the rounds on the Internet, particularly on conservative media.
Bartholomew, a self-described gay baker, posted a video to his Facebook page where he chastises the LGBT community for allegedly “bullying” wedding cake bakers who refuse to make same-sex wedding cakes. The video has since been posted to The Daily Signal, the multimedia news publication of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, the conservative website The Blaze and online news website The Inquisitr.
Although Bartholomew doesn’t mention a specific incident, some online commenters have tied his comments to recent court decisions such as the one where the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Ore., owned by Melissa and Aaron Klein, was ordered to pay damages in the amount of $135,000 to a lesbian couple that had been refused a wedding cake.
The Kleins then continued an ongoing media blitz to argue their case in the court of public opinion, claiming having to pay the “fine” violates their freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Many conservative media outlets, as well as mainstream news organization, then reported the story as an example of the “persecution” of Christians who object to homosexuality or same-sex marriage. But the investigative website Raw Story pointed out that the fine leveraged against the Kleins was not a penalty for discriminating against the lesbian couple, but rather for the emotional suffering they experienced after the Kleins shared the couple’s personal contact information on social media. As a result of publishing their personal information, the lesbian couple experienced death threats that nearly led them to lose custody of their foster children, who have since been adopted. That last detail has often been omitted — possibly deliberately — from previous reports on the case.
Nonetheless, in his video, Bartholomew scolds the LGBT community for forcing people who do not approve of homosexuality to serve them, given that there are other businesses that would gladly serve gay couples.
“They don’t have to bake a cake for you … why would you want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a wedding cake and pay that money to someone who doesn’t want to make the cake for you?” Bartholomew asked.
“So you’re going to say that you want to force someone who doesn’t want to bake a cake for you? … It’s plain and simple. You are bullying someone. You are forcing someone. You are being a Nazi and forcing someone to bake a damn wedding cake when there are hundreds of other gay and lesbians that would gladly have your business. Shame on you.”
The issue raised by Bartholomew in the video will likely continue to be a topic of debate as more and more lawsuits over whether public accommodations should be able to refuse to serve LGBT people. That issue is also likely to be raised as states begin debating so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts,” or RFRAs that would allow businesses or individuals like bakers to discriminate by citing their personal or sincerely-held religious beliefs. Meanwhile, on the pro-LGBT side, BuzzFeed has reported that U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) are expected to introduce a sweeping nondiscrimination bill this week that includes protections for public accommodations.
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