Oregon bakery that refused to make wedding cake for lesbian couple forced to close

In case you missed it: This was one of Lifestyle's most popular stories of 2016
In 2013, Melissa Klein and Aaron Klein refused to make a cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer when they discovered the wedding was for a same-sex couple. Photo / Sweetcakes by Melissa
In 2013, Melissa Klein and Aaron Klein refused to make a cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer when they discovered the wedding was for a same-sex couple. Photo / Sweetcakes by Melissa

The Oregon bakery that made news after it refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding has closed after legal battles left the business financially devastated, according to a Christian news site.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, have shut down their bakery, according to the store's Facebook page.

"We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone's continued prayer and support," the post said.

'We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone's continued prayer and support,' the business wrote on Facebook. Photo / Sweet Cakes Facebook
'We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone's continued prayer and support,' the business wrote on Facebook. Photo / Sweet Cakes Facebook

CNS News reported that the couple was left "financially crippled" following their legal battle with Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.

In 2013, the Kleins refused to make a cake for the Bowman-Cryers when they discovered the wedding was for a same-sex couple.

Rachel had previously purchased a cake for her mother - a "raspberry fantasy cake" - and wanted the same one for her wedding, the Oregonian reported.

The bakers said their refusal was prompted by religious beliefs, causing them to become the face of the "religious liberties" movement.

When Rachel Bowman-Cryer told Aaron Klein it would be two brides on top of the cake, he replied: "I think we may have wasted your time. We don't do same-sex weddings."

After being denied, the Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, the newspaper reported.

In 2015, the Kleins paid $135,000 in state-ordered damages - after refusing to do so for nearly six months.

After being denied, the Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint against the Kleins (above) with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Photo / Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook
After being denied, the Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint against the Kleins (above) with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Photo / Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook

That money remains locked up in a government account as the bakers continue to appeal, potentially planning to take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Damages were awarded in July of last year for emotional suffering caused by Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

A 2007 Oregon law protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The state ruled it also bars private businesses from discriminating against potential customers.

In July 2015, the Kleins said that they were the ones being discriminated against because their views are being silenced by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.

The Kleins have filed an appeal of the court's decision to award damages to the state and oral arguments are expected to take place later this year.

Despite the reports of financial hardships, a crowdfunding page for the Kleins raised more than $500,000 for the couple.

Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer are protected by a 2007 Oregon law that prevents discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. Photo / Facebook
Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer are protected by a 2007 Oregon law that prevents discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. Photo / Facebook

The Kleins' store shut down in 2013, but they continued to sell cakes from their home and online.

It appears that will now cease as well.

They said in February they hope to open a new store in the future, but they don't know if they will be able to reopen in Oregon.

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 23 Jan 2017 06:02:18 Processing Time: 437ms