Aaron and Melissa Klein, who self-identify as Christians, were ordered by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries on July 2 to pay $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, a lesbian couple whom Aaron refused to make a wedding cake for back in January 2013 (video below).
The Kleins were ordered to pay the $135,000 not because of the cake, but due to the emotional and physical suffering experienced by Rachel and Laurel.
Aaron reportedly posted a copy of Laurel's complaint (to the Oregon Department of Justice) on his Facebook page, which included the lesbian couple's names, address and phone number. Rachel and Laurel got hundreds of threatening messages, noted Willamette Week in July. It became so bad that Rachel and Laurel moved to Washington State.
Aaron claimed that he was unaware that Rachel and Laurel's personal information was on the complaint that he made public on Facebook, but the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries didn't buy that argument and issued the fine.
Aaron told The Daily Signal in April that the "damages that they're claiming were absolutely not caused by us."
The Kleins' attorney asked the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries twice to delay the payment requirement while the Kleins' case works its way through the Oregon Court of Appeals, but those requests have been refused because the Kleins received nearly $500,000 in donations when their story of supposed Christian persecution went public, notes Willamette Week.
Jenn Gaddis, chief prosecutor for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries' administrative prosecution unit, told the Kleins' lawyers in a Sept. 16 email:
Please inform the agency of when your clients will tender payment. Otherwise we have no other option but to docket the judgment against them. It is unfortunate that they will not seek the bond or irrevocable letter of credit, that you had initially stated they were interested in seeking, when they have clearly raised close to $500,000 with which to pay the damage award.
Laurel told Willamette Week in July:
People don't realize that we never wanted this to happen—that we're not asking for anything. We've never asked for a penny from anybody.
The Kleins have been out there begging for money to pay the fine. And they still continue to ask for money, and say that they're not going to pay the fine because they don't want the money to go to us.