Sweet Cakes by Melissa Owners Defying Order to Pay $135,000 to Lesbian Couple Who Wanted a Wedding Cake

Aaron and Melissa Klein have raised $500,000 in crowdfunding.

It looks like Aaron and Melissa Klein, the former proprietors of Gresham bakery Sweetcakes by Melissa, are following the government-defying example of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., court clerk recently jailed for refusing to marry same-sex couples.

On July 2, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, for whom Aaron Klein refused to bake a wedding cake and then posted their home address online.

The Kleins, records show, have for nearly three months defied BOLI's order to pay.

Their attorney twice requested a stay while the Oregon Court of Appeals considers the Klein's case, asserting payment would lead to "financial ruin."

BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian rejected those requests—noting that the Kleins raised nearly $500,000 from crowd-funding sites and the money will be held in escrow during appeal.

Avakian issued his final denial on July 27.

More recently, an email chain shows, Jenn Gaddis, the chief prosecutor in BOLI's administrative prosecution unit, communicated with the Kleins' attorneys—Hebert Grey, Tyler Smith and Anna Harmon—about ways the Kleins might satisfy their obligation without putting up cash.

"If we can come to agreement on the terms and conditions of a bond or irrevocable letter of credit," Gaddis wrote to the Kleins' attorneys in an Aug. 6 email, "the agency will stay collection of the emotional distress damages from your client."

On Sept. 8, Herbert Grey responded to Gaddis.

"Our clients do not have a bond or irrevocable letter of credit in place and have no further plans to obtain one," Grey wrote.

On Sept. 16 Gaddis wrote back to Grey and the Klein's other attorneys, seeking immediate payment.

"Please inform the agency of when your clients will tender payment," Gaddis wrote on Sept. 16. "Otherwise we have no other option but to docket the judgement against them. It is unfortunate that they will not seek the bond or irrevocable letter of credit, that you had initially stated they were interested in seeking, when they have clearly raised close to $500,000 with which to pay the damage award."

Docketing the judgement puts BOLI in a position to place a lien on the Kleins' property or attach other assets.

Meanwhile, the Kleins appeared alongside Davis last weekend at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. It's the second consecutive year they've been featured speakers at the right-wing event.

The Kleins' attorney, Herbert Grey, declined comment.

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