Oregon Bakery Refuses To Pay Damages After Discriminating Against Lesbian Couple

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Melissa and Aaron Klein holding up 'Sweet Cakes' bakery signMelissa and Aaron Klein holding up 'Sweet Cakes' bakery sign

The owners of Portland-area bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, who made headlines for denying service to a same-sex couple and were ordered by the state to pay $135,000 in damages, are refusing to pay even after a crowd-funding effort raised over $500,000 to help the couple.

Bakery owners Melissa and Aaron Klein refused to make a cake for lesbian couple Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer in 2013, citing religious beliefs, The Oregonian reports.

In July, damages were awarded to the Bowman-Cryers after it was found they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, thus violating their civil rights. The Kleins have filed an appeal to the ruling.

Even though the Kleins raised more than $500,000 through crowd-funding, they say they will not pay the required damages due to financial hardship.

“It’s difficult to understand the Kleins’ unwillingness to pay the debt when they have, very publicly, raised nearly a half million dollars,” labor bureau spokesman Charlie Burr told the Oregonian in an email. "They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order."

State officials are trying to place a property lien or attach other assets belonging to the Kleins in order to collect the funds.

Attorneys for both the Kleins and Bowman-Cryers refused to comment on the case to The Oregonian.

"We don't want to speculate on their motives as to why they do or don't do things,” attorney Paul Thompson, representing the Bowman-Cryers, said.

Sources: The Oregonian, The Guardian / Photo credit: KOIN, Suzette Franck/Flickr