Despite being forced to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple over their refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding earlier this year, the Christian owners of Sweet Cakes bakery this week sent custom-designed cakes and copies of a Ray Comfort film to 11 LGBTQ organizations as an "expression of love."
According to George Rede of Oregon Live, Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Oregon, sent the cakes Wednesday to the groups, along with gift cards and a copy of Ray Comfort's new film, Audacity. The movie, which was both written and producedby the popular evangelist, "is meant to reach homosexuals and non-Christians without condescending to them," Comfort has explained.
"We had been speaking with Ray Comfort back and forth about his movie Audacity," Melissa Klein said in an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive. "We came up with the idea of sending cakes to express that we really do love them. Ray Comfort also put a $25 gift card to a restaurant inside."
The news outlet notes that the Kleins drove the cakes down to southern California to Comfort's Living Waters ministry and shipped from there to the various LGBT organizations.
The cakes enclosed were decorated with fondant icing and a red heart proclaiming "We really do love you!" and feature red, white and blue colors inside to represent freedom, the Daily Signal reported.
While the move has been criticized by some pro-LGBT groups, Melissa Klein told Oregon Live that her family's purpose in sending the packages was simply "to express our love for them as a Christian."
"We don't hate them. We also included in the package the movie 'Audacity,'" Klein wrote. "I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart. We want to show them that it's not about not serving them it's about not being able to partake in an event."
She added, "I'm not worried about what people think of me. My motives are pure and only want to express love. Also I'm sure people will say we were just doing a publicity stunt but that is not what this is intended for."
The Kleins first made headlines earlier this year when Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries ordered them to pay $135,000 in damages for emotional suffering caused when they refused two years ago to bake a wedding cake for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer.
A judge found the business guilty of unlawful discrimination against a same-sex couple in its refusal to bake a cake for their wedding and cited Oregon's "public accommodations law" in determining the damages
"This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage," the state agency's order stated in July. "It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal."
While the Kleins have closed their Gresham store, they continue to operate the business from home. In the coming weeks, they plan to send baked goods to other LGBTQ groups across the country.
"We're doing this to show that we don't harbor hard feelings toward the narrative that's been put out about us. We don't want to see these people hurting," Aaron told The Daily Signal.