Bakery Owners Won't Pay Gay Couple $135K for Cake Refusal

Claim it would cause 'financial ruin,' despite at least $515K raised via crowdfunding
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2015 1:09 PM CDT
Bakery Owners Won't Pay Gay Couple $135K for Cake Refusal
This photo taken Feb. 5, 2013, shows Melissa Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore., talking to a customer.   (Everton Bailey Jr./The Oregonian via AP)

A couple ordered by the state of Oregon to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple they refused to make a wedding cake for won't pay up—despite the fact that more than half a million dollars has been raised for them via crowdfunding, the Oregonian reports. Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, are still waiting on their appeal in the case, but in the meantime, for almost three months they've refused to send the money they legally owe per a Bureau of Labor and Industries order, with their attorney twice requesting a stay on the July order because of the "financial ruin" it would cause his clients, reports Willamette Week. An email chain between a BOLI prosecutor and the Kleins' legal team shows the agency trying for weeks to negotiate payment that wouldn't require a huge cash output.

"Our clients do not have a bond or irrevocable letter of credit in place and have no further plans to obtain one," one of the Kleins' attorneys wrote to BOLI on Sept. 8, prompting the state to start the process of going after the couple's assets. By the Oregonian's numbers, the couple has received at least $515,000 via crowdfunding. Figures published in the Advocate back up those figures: A GoFundMe account was shut down for violating site policy against fundraising for individuals involved in discrimination cases, but not before earning $109,000 for the couple. An undisclosed amount was also raised by Samaritan's Purse, a religious nonprofit the Advocate notes is run by an antigay evangelical. But the lion's share of the money—more than $406,000—came from Continue to Give, an amount the Washington Times says is the largest raised for individuals in the organization's three-year history. (Read more Oregon stories.)

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