Christian Couple Who Refused Gay Marriage Gig Are Fundraising To Reopen Their Bakery

By Charles Susswein | Tuesday, 28 June 2022 16:45
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Aaron and Melissa Klein, a Christian couple whose bakery has been held up in the courts for years and were directed to pay $135,000 in damages for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, are now working on opening a new shop to “show God’s goodness to everyone.”

The Kleins, who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa until an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries order attempted to punish them for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013, moved to Montana two years ago and are wishing to establish a new bakery, states Melissa Klein in an online appeal for funds.

“I had said I was never going to open a bakery again, but God has seemed to change my heart with this,” she continues. “It’s been 10 years since having my shop in Oregon and I greatly miss it along with all my sweet customers.”

Klein also clarifies that her family requires to raise $50,000 for a down payment on a restaurant that is for sale in Montana which could be “the home of Sweet Cakes.” She adds that she is further selling cookies to get the money.

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As of early Sunday, 132 people had given nearly $14,000 to the couple.

“I’m hoping to see, with my new bakery, it being a place where friends and family can come, sit, and have a coffee, enjoy breakfast or lunch, or just even a sweet treat,” Klein said CBN News in an interview last week.

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“I want it to be a place where everyone feels welcome and is greeted with a joyful smile,” she went on. “I want it to be a place that is used to show God’s goodness to everyone.”

In January, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of the state of Oregon maintained that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated by refusing to make a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in 2013.

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However, the panel reversed the order asking the couple to pay $135,000 in damages.

“We adhere to our prior decision upholding BOLI’s determinations that Aaron unlawfully discriminated against the Bowman-Cryers based on sexual orientation,” wrote Circuit Judge Erin Lagesen, the author of the panel opinion. “We reach a different conclusion with respect to our prior affirmance of BOLI’s noneconomic damages award,” ruled Lagesen.

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Although, Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for the First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit representing the Kleins, didn’t agree with the choice of the appeals court.

“The Court admits the state agency that acted as both prosecutor and judge, in this case, was biased against the Kleins’ faith. Yet, despite this anti-Christian bias that infected the whole case, the court is sending the case back to the very same agency for a do-over,” she stated back then.

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The Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint with BOLI, which decided that the Kleins had violated Oregon’s accommodations statute barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.

As a result of the BOLI ruling against them, the Kleins were fined $135,000 in damages and closed the bakery.

The Kleins appealed the BOLI order to the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2016. Following the Oregon court upheld the order, they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.

In June 2019, the Supreme Court issued an order removing the ruling against the Kleins and sent the case back to the state court of appeals. The country's high court cited its 2018 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that the latter revealed an unconstitutional anti-religious animus toward Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop when it punished him for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Talking regarding the devastation of losing her business, Klein explained to CBN’s Faithwire, "All I can remember with the feelings of losing my bakery was the feeling of just devastation. ... My heart literally felt ripped in two when I closed my doors for the last time."

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