Oregon Bakers Finally Pay Fine For Discriminating Against Gay Couple, Laugh At Opponents (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Melissa and Aaron Klein.Melissa and Aaron Klein.

Aaron and Melissa Klein (video below), who own Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, had refused to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple they discriminated against, after being ordered to do so by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in July.

But Aaron paid $136,927.07 to BOLI's Portland office on Dec. 28; the total amount included accrued interest, notes Willamette Week.

On Dec. 27, the Kleins appeared in an interview produced by The Daily Signal, which is owned by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

As cheerful music plays in the background, the Christian couple reads and laughs at some of the "mean tweets" they have received.

About halfway through the video, the music stops and the Kleins become serious about the name-calling.

“You start to realize they're coming from a place of ignorance,” Aaron says. "It's not a place of knowledge of who you are; it's not a place of knowledge of what the situation actually is."

"It's just changed in from going from having hurt feelings and people hurting me by their words to now, when I read it, I actually hurt for them and I feel that," Melissa adds. "I just pray for them."

The fine against the Kleins stems from when they refused to make a wedding cake for lesbian couple Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in January 2013, which violated Oregon's law against discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.

Aaron subsequently posted the home address of the Bowman-Cryers on Facebook, which reportedly led to harassment of the gay couple by third parties.

The Bowman-Cryers originally wanted the cake for their civil commitment ceremony, but the Kleins said that making such a cake would violate their Christian beliefs.

The Kleins' lawyers requested delays to pay the fine while the Oregon Court of Appeals considered the couple's appeal because paying the fine would allegedly lead to "financial ruin," Willamette Week reported in September.

BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian turned down those requests because the Kleins raised nearly $500,000 from donations, which was echoed by The New Civil Rights Movement in a recent report. Avian said at the time that the donation money would be held in escrow during the Kleins' appeal.

Now, it appears that the Kleins are taking the less expensive route by paying the fine and not defying the state any longer.

The Kleins' attorney, Tyler Smith, released a statement on Dec. 28:

"Aaron and Melissa Klein are devoted to honoring God in every aspect of their lives, including how they conduct themselves in this litigation. Oregon law requires that as they appeal the Oregon government’s decision denying them their First Amendment rights, they must either pay the amount imposed by the Oregon government, or obtain a bond for the amount of the judgment. The least expensive option to stay in compliance with the law was to pay the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries funds that will be kept in a separate account until they prevail in their court appeal."

Sources: The Daily SignalWillamette Week (2), New Civil Rights Movement / Photo credit: The Daily Signal/YouTube