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Anti-Gay Bakery Refuses to Pay $135K Fine

Former Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein reject the court-ordered fine.

The Sweet Cakes by Melissa Protest
The Sweet Cakes by Melissa Protest
Facebook/Sweet Cakes by Melissa Protest

Since 2013, when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and had to close their Gresham bakery, Sweet Cakes by MelissaAaron and Melissa Klein won't stop making headlines. In July 2015, the Bureau of Labor and Industries ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000, after investigating their refusal to serve the same-sex couple and Aaron Klein's subsequent posting of the couple's photo, address, and phone number on Facebook. Now the Kleins have defied the court order, saying that it will ruin them financially in spite of the fact that they have raised over $500,000 through crowdfunding related to the case.

In an email on Wednesday, labor bureau spokesman Charlie Burr said, "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." The Kleins haven't commented on their decision, so no one technically knows why they're doing it.

So where do things stand? The Bureau of Labor and Industries is "exploring collection options," namely, trying to get a property lien on the Klein's home and related possessions. But the true heart of the matter lies beneath the official statements.

This case has brought a common situation into the light: Some LGBT people want to be able to hire business services from anyone they choose, and some people do not want to offer their business services to LGBT people. Stay tuned to see how things play out.