PORTLAND, Ore. — The Christian owners of a bakery in Oregon have paid over $135,000 in state-ordered “emotional damages” for two lesbian women who filed a complaint after being told that the couple could not provide a cake for their “wedding” ceremony due to their convictions not to be a partaker in other’s sins. (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7)
As previously reported, in February, a judge with the Oregon BOLI declared Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa guilty of discrimination for declining to make the cake, thus moving the matter into the sentencing phase.
The two lesbian women, Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, submitted individual lists of just under 100 aspects of suffering in order to receive damages. They included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “distrust of men,” “distrust of former friends,” “excessive sleep,” “discomfort,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “loss of pride,” “mental rape,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”
But the Kleins told the court that they too had suffered because of the attacks that they received over their desire to live out their Christian faith in the workplace. They stated that they endured “mafia tactics” as their car was vandalized and broken into on two occasions, their vendors were harassed by homosexual advocates resulting in some businesses breaking ties with them, and they received threatening emails wishing rape, death and Hell upon the family. As a result, they had to close their business and move it into their private home.
In April, Alan McCullough, an administrative judge with the bureau, recommended a payment of $135,000, with one of the women receiving $75,000 and the other $60,000. Prosecutors had sought damages of $75,000 each.
In June, BOLI officially accepted McCollough’s recommendation and ordered the Kleins to pay the women $135,000 in light of the damages Cryer and Bowman listed.
The Kleins then asked for a stay of the order, but were denied. As the couple initially refused to pay the damages, officials moved to docket the judgment and seek permission to place a property lien against the Kleins or collect the money in other ways.
But according to reports, the damages were paid on Monday, as the couple dropped off a check for $136,927.07, which includes interest. Neither the Kleins or their attorneys released a statement about the matter as of press time.
As previously reported, some outlets had claimed this past summer that the Kleins were not ordered to pay damages for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian’s same-sex ceremony, but were rather punished for inadvertently “publishing” the women’s addresses on Facebook by uploading the filed consumer complaint—a public document that had not been redacted by the government—on their new personal page that only had 17 friends at the time. The Kleins deleted the status after being informed that the document was not redacted.
“I was just notified that the [complainants’] info was on the document I posted. Totally didn’t think about that, was a mistake and I apologize. I hope nobody used it for anything bad,” Aaron Klein posted.
The order from BOLI outlines that the complaint form that one of the women completed included a disclaimer noting that once submitted, their information would now become “subject to Oregon’s public records law.” This means that the personal address and phone number that was supplied might be able to be seen by the public and Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
However, the woman said that because she submitted the form via her Smartphone, the disclaimer “was not visible.”
While BOLI concluded that the Kleins were “guilty” of discrimination for declining to supply the cake for the lesbian’s same-sex event, and were willing to award the women $135,000 in damages for emotional distress for the denial, it ultimately refused the women any additional damages for the Facebook incident nor surrounding the matter having been in the media.
As assertions in the media about the reason the Kleins were fined were inaccurate since the couple was solely ordered to pay damages surrounding the denial of the cake, several outlets retracted their claims and apologized for disseminating the information.