Bakers that refused same-sex couple now refuse to pay $135K in damages

An Oregon couple who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding are now holding out on state-ordered damage fines to the lesbian couple they discriminated against.

Since refusing service to lesbian couple Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, Aaron and Melissa Klein have raised over $500,000 on crowdfunding sites Continue to Give and Samaritan’s Purse, the Oregonian reported.

But the bakery owners have neglected a Bureau of Labor and Industries order to pay $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, claiming financial hardship.

According to the Oregonian, a lawyer representing the Kleins wrote that the family “(does) not have a bond or irrevocable letter of credit in place and have no further plans to obtain either one.”

In response, state officials are seeking a property lien or other assets belonging to the Kleins, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery.

“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 Portland-based paper on Wednesday. “They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order.”

The action dates back to January 2013, when Rachel Cryer and her mother went to Sweet Cakes shop for a cake-tasting appointment, only to be told by Aaron Klein that the bakery would not make a cake for same-sex weddings.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued a final order July 2 ordering the Kleins to pay damages for emotional and mental suffering. Avakian ruled the Kleins had violated the women’s civil rights by discriminating on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Contact Chris Kudialis at or 702-380-4593. Find him on Twitter: @kudialisrj

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