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Owners of Sweet Cakes Bakery Explain Why They Are Fighting Order to Pay Lesbian Couple: 'We Don't Want To Set A Precedent'

( [email protected] ) Oct 06, 2015 01:11 PM EDT
Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of the embattled Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery, are continuing to fight a $135,000 judgement imposed by Oregon officials over their refusal to make a lesbian wedding cake.
Aaron and Melissa Klein Melissa Klein

Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of the embattled Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery, are continuing to fight a $135,000 judgement imposed by Oregon officials over their refusal to make a lesbian wedding cake.

"We feel like we shouldn't have to pay when we haven't even gotten due process," Melissa Klein recently told TheBlaze. "We also feel like we're taking a stand for the next person ... that this could happen to. We don't want to set a precedent."

She continued, "We want to fight this, and we want to fight this all the way."

As reported by the Gospel Herald, Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer filed a lawsuit against the Kleins in 2013 after the Christian duo refused to bake a cake for the same-sex couple's wedding, citing their religious beliefs.

Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries found the owners had violated anti-discrimination laws because their shop is not a registered religious institution, and ordered them to pay the couple $135,000 in damages.

In September, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries spokesman Charlie Burr stated that the agency is "exploring collection options," as the Kleins continue to fight the government order.

"It's difficult to understand the Kleins' unwillingness to pay the debt when they have, very publicly, raised nearly a half million dollars," Burr said. "They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order."

However, an attorney representing the Kleins, Herb Grey, said the couple has raised far less than $500,000, but declined to give an exact number. He also said they should not be obligated to pay the damages because the case is not settled.

Speaking to the Blaze, Klein said that while she and her husband have received some of the money that was raised, they haven't touched it.

"Right now, we're not touching that money, because we don't know what the future holds," she said. "We don't know what's going to come of all of this. We're in the appeal process."

In a separate interview with the the Daily Signal, Aaron said of their refusal to pay the $135,000, "There's legal reasons and there's also kind of personal reasons. If a civil court or a circuit court judge had made this order, I would consider it legally binding. But when a bureaucracy does it and I didn't get due process, I don't call it legally binding."

Meanwhile, the Kleins have continued to reach out the LGBT community: in August, the family sent custom-designed cakes and copies of the Ray Comfort film "Audacity" to 11 LGBTQ organizations as an "expression of love."

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."