A spokeswoman for an Oregon group
opposed to gay marriage has angered Jewish leaders in the state.
Teresa Harke, a spokeswoman for the
Oregon Family Council, explained in comments to The
Oregonian the rationale behind a proposed referendum which
seeks to allow individuals and businesses to refuse participating in
or supporting same-sex unions, including marriages, civil unions or
domestic partnerships, if those go against their religious beliefs.
“Would you expect a Jewish bakery to
serve a neo-Nazi who wanted a cake with a swastika on it?” Harke
“It really is using an illustration
that is so offensive,” Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth
Israel told The Oregonian. “Here you're making a comparison
between a hate group that supports the elimination of Jews in the
world and a couple that wants to sanctify their marriage.”
Cahana also wrote a letter signed by
prominent Jewish leaders condemning Harke's comments as “an insult
to the memory of those who perished” in the Holocaust.
Oregon Family Council is the Christian
conservative group that spearheaded the 2004 campaign that led to
passage of the state's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to
Marriage equality supporters hope to
qualify a referendum to repeal the amendment and legalize such unions
Harke has previously said that her
group over the next year would focus its organizing on passage of the
religious exemptions measure.