Anti-gay bakery refuses to pay damages despite getting $400,000 in donations
The owners of an Oregon bakery who refused to serve a gay couple are refusing to pay damages, despite receiving over $400,000 in donations.
The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages earlier this year, having lost a long-running court case after they refused service to a gay couple for their wedding cake.
However, Melissa Klein and her husband Aaron are now refusing to pay up – despite receiving nearly half a million dollars from a right-wing Christian crowdfunding campaing
The bakers say it would violate their religious beliefs to provide cakes to gays because they believe same sex marriage “wrong” and they “didn’t want to be a part of [it].”
However, the Kleins were found guilty of discrimination in 2014, falling foul of Oregon state laws which ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and were later ordered to pay $135,000 in damages to the lesbian couple.
The bakery owners, however, have incredibly insisted they cannot afford to comply with the Bureau of Labor and Industries order, claiming ‘financial hardships’.
This claim is surprising, given that $400,000 was raised online after the anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) rallied its supporters to donate to Sweet Cakes to cover the fine.
The attorney for the couple said the decision to award damages is being appealed adding: “They continue to stand on their well-established constitutional rights to live and work based on their values and beliefs.”
Labor bureau spokesperson Charlie Burr told the Oregonian: “It’s difficult to understand the Kleins’ unwillingness to pay the debt when they have, very publicly, raised nearly a half million dollars.
“They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order.”