By Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer

When we moved to Oregon from Texas seven years ago, elections were the least of our worries. We chose Portland because it was known for being liberal and open-minded, and we were looking forward to a new life where we would be welcomed for who we are. We began planning our wedding and building a loving home for the two daughters we were in the process of adopting.

We were naïve in thinking we left anti-LGBTQ discrimination behind us. 

Our lives were shattered when we became international news after the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to sell us a wedding cake because we are a same-sex couple. 

We learned very quickly that the 2007 Oregon Equality Act protects us from discrimination and that the Bureau of Labor and Industries would fight to enforce these laws. But the fight is far from over. Just last week, Sweet Cake’s lawyers filed an appeal with Oregon’s Court of Appeals, continuvote_equality_eheader_epacing to push their belief that businesses should be able to refuse to follow laws they don’t like.  

It’s easy to forget that there are people actively trying to undermine the progress we’ve made in Oregon— and standing strong for equality is especially important during an election year. Elections matter, which is why Basic Right Oregon’s Equality PAC board interviews, educates and endorses candidates to ensure they represent our values. Join us in voting for pro-equality candidates in Oregon’s May 17 primary. 

We must defend our victories and send a clear message to the rest of the world that Oregon remains a pro-equality state.  Please review the  Equality PAC’s early endorsements before mailing in your ballot. Ballots should be mailed no later than May 13.  

Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer courageously filed and won a complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a Gresham bakery that refused to sell them a wedding cake. The Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled the bakery owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, violated the 2007 Oregon Equality Act.  The Kleins are appealing the ruling seeking an exemption from Oregon laws, so they can discriminate against LGBTQ Oregonians.