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Bakers Who Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couple Explain Why They Won't Pay Damages

Seems we haven't heard the last of Sweet Cakes by Melissa just yet.

The owners of an Oregon bakery who violated their state's anti-discrimination laws by turning away a lesbian couple in 2013 say they have no plans to obey state orders and pay damages. 

Melissa Klein, who co-owned and operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa with her husband, Aaron, told The Blaze that she doesn't "want to set a precedent" by paying $135,000 in damages to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, the couple her bakery turned away two years ago. 

"We feel like we shouldn’t have to pay when we haven’t even gotten due process," she said. "We also feel like we’re taking a stand for the next person … that this could happen to."

Her comments follow reports that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries was "exploring collection options" after the Kleins had thus far failed to turn over any of the money. Communications Director Charlie Burr told The Daily Signal that the bureau had already "docketed the judgment," which is a preliminary step in enabling the agency to place a lien on the Kleins' property or other assets. 

The couple, who shuttered their storefront in August 2013 but continue to take orders from their home, are "entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order," Burr said. 

Meanwhile, an email thread cited by Willamette Week last week pointed to "close to $500,000" that had been raised on the Kleins' behalf via an online fundraising campaign

Melissa Klein told The Blaze she and Aaron had already received some of the money that was raised, but hadn't spent any of it because "we don’t know what the future holds." 

"We don’t know what’s going to come of all of this. We're in the appeal process," she said. "We want to fight this, and we want to fight this all the way."

Aaron Klein echoed those sentiments in a phone interview with The Daily Signal, saying he and Melissa had both "legal" and "personal" reasons for not paying the fine. 

"If a civil court or a circuit court judge had made this order, I would consider it legally binding," he said. "But when a bureaucracy does it and I didn’t get due process, I don’t call it legally binding."

Yikes. There's no telling what the Kleins will do next, but for a couple whose occupation is making sweets, they're certainly leaving us with a sour taste.  

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CLARIFICATION: The original version of this article claimed that the Kleins had been required to pay $135,000 via a court order. The ruling was delivered by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  

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