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Jewish leaders in Oregon protest neo-Nazi analogy in gay marriage debate

(JTA) — Jewish leaders in Oregon protested the use of an analogy about a Jewish business serving neo-Nazis to make a point about whether businesses should have to serve same-sex weddings.

Responding to the analogy used last week by a spokeswoman for the Oregon Family Council, 13 Oregon rabbis and leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the Oregon Area Jewish Committee sent a letter to the council on Monday.

The letter said it was an “insult to the memory of those who perished” in the Holocaust “to use one of history’s greatest atrocities to forward your political agenda,” The Oregonian newspaper reported.

Jack Louman, president of the Oregon Family Council, responded with a statement.

“The example was not meant to offend you or anyone else and as such will not be used in the future,” he said, according to The Oregonian. “We deeply respect the Jewish community in Oregon and it was not our intention to be offensive.”

Teresa Harke, the council’s spokeswoman, in an interview published Nov. 21 in The Oregonian used the analogy while explaining the need for a ballot measure sponsored by the group that would allow businesses to refuse to provide their services for same-sex weddings due to religious reasons.

“Would you expect a Jewish bakery to serve a neo-Nazi who wanted a cake with a swastika on it?” she asked.

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