The owners of an Oregon bakery that made national headlines last year after turning away a pair of lesbian brides-to-be are now facing a fine of up to $150,000, which could reportedly leave them bankrupt.
Speaking at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein told The Daily Signal that such a fine would “definitely” be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.
“Ironically, the state was in violation of its own anti-discrimination laws,” Aaron Klein told the publication, pointing to the fact that federal judge didn't strike down Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage until May 2014, well after the cake controversy.
He also said he and his wife will appeal after the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries determined that "substantial evidence" proved the Kleins had violated the lesbian couple's civil rights by refusing to make the cake.
Added Melissa Klein: "It's definitely impacted us pretty hard financially, and it's been a little stressful, but ... we have the Lord and so He's been keeping us strong."
Meanwhile, the Kleins shared a Rick Warren passage on Facebook after C-SPAN footage of Melissa's emotional appearance at the Values Voter Summit went viral earlier this week.
Previously, the Kleins had argued that they were simply living in accordance with their religious beliefs when they rejected a lesbian couple's request for a wedding cake. Furthermore, they said they believed their decision to deny service to the two women was protected by their right to practice their religion as they see fit.
In September 2013, the Kleins eventually chose to shut down the Sweet Cakes By Melissa storefront, but the business currently operates out of a home kitchen and is still taking orders online.
In July, a series of photos appeared on Sweet Cakes by Melissa's official Facebook page, which showed desserts prepared by the company for Restored Hope, a group which has advocated for reparative, or "ex-gay," therapy.