The Holy Rosary Church in Portland is being sued by an events company that was forced by a ‘morals clause’ to turn down a gay event it was was asked to organise in 2015 in a building owned by the church.
According to this report, the Ambridge Event Center was approached by PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Portland Black Chapter to arrange an event. PFLAG’s website says it:
Promotes the health and well-being of specifically Black gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, their families and friends through support, education, organizing and advocacy. This organization is the first African American chapter of PFLAG in the nation.
In a lawsuit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon, Ambridge alleged that the church’s rules against them hosting the LGBT event caused them harm and they are seeking $2.3 million in damages. The lawsuit states:
Even businesses and government entities that had previously scheduled events with Ambridge who were not affiliated with the LGBTQ community but had equity-driven internal policies refused to work with Ambridge after reading or hearing about the discriminatory policy involved in its employment relationship with the church.
PFLAG considered filing a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, but did not do so in part because churches are exempted from state anti-discrimination law.
Rod Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative and author of the book, The Benedict Option, wrote in a column published on Tuesday that:
The fact that Holy Rosary Church has to defend itself in this ridiculous lawsuit is a burden on a charitable organization that no doubt operates on a very tight margin.
Ambridge’s complaint against Holy Rosary comes months after the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled against a Christian couple who were sued for $135,000 for refusing to make a gay wedding cake due to their religious objections.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, lost their appeal last December when the court decided that their effort to get an exemption was:
A special license for discrimination.
The appellate court said:
The Kleins seek an exemption based on their sincere religious opposition to same-sex marriage; but those with sincere religious objections to marriage between people of different races, ethnicities, or faiths could just as readily demand the same exemption.