Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who were forced to close down their shop two years ago after refusing to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding, were told by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) this week that if they did not pay the $135,000 fine imposed on them by Monday, July 13, they could have a lien placed on their home.
BOLI imposed the fine on the Kleins in April after they refused to bake Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer a cake for their nuptials in 2013. After a complaint filed by the couple against the Kleins and a swarm of protests, the Christian bakers closed their business, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, that September.
“I would appeal to everybody in the state of Oregon,” Aaron said on The Lars Larson Show Wednesday. “Understand that this is the way things operate. We need to institute change, take the government to task for violating our constitutional freedoms at whatever level they are doing it.”
In addition to paying the six-figure fine, the Kleins are required “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” as The Daily Signal pointed out Monday.
If they do not pay, more than $25,000 in penalties and interest will be added. The Kleins plan to file a challenge to the ruling with the Oregon Court of Appeals. Aaron told Larson they intend to file a stay with a decision to be made in the next 30 days. Speaking to IJReview in an article published Wednesday, Aaron made an appeal to anyone who has Christian values. “It’s time for Christians in this country to stand up for their religious rights, which are being trampled on by the government,” he said. “They should be very disturbed by this ruling.”
A Continue To Give page was launched to help the Kleins cover their legal expenses. A message on the page reads:
Let’s help the Kleins through this hard time as they fight for religous [sic] freedom; which they are not just fighting for themselves but for all of us as our freedoms are threatened. They have been struggling financially ever since they were forced to close the doors of their bakery in 2013 as their income was basically cut in half. If they are forced to pay the damages to the lesbian couple they will be in much worse shape than they are now. They are pioneers in standing strong for the Lord and have been very courageous and steadfast throughout this whole ordeal. Please let’s rally around them to help ease the stress of everyday expenses and unexpected urgent needs.
While the target goal of $150,000 has already been exceeded, Aaron told Larson he could not access the money before the deadline and cannot pay the fine out of pocket.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched earlier this year, but the site said it violated its terms and conditions. The family was able to access some of those funds.
h/t: National Review
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.