Melissa and Aaron Klein have paid approximately $144,000 in court-ordered damages to a pair of lesbian women despite their appeal of the Oregon discrimination case. The Kleins own a bakery, Sweet Cakes, in the Portland area. The damages came about after the Kleins refused to create a cake for the 2013 nuptials for Laurel Bowman-Cryer and Rachel Bowman-Cryer. According to Charlie Burr of the Oregon Bureau Labor and Industries, Aaron Klein delivered the State of Oregon a check in the amount 
of $136,927.07 on December 28. This adds to the $7000 the Kleins paid earlier this month when the Oregon Department of Justice resort to private collectors.
 
It was after the owners of the bakery refused to bake the cake for the two women that the state determined they had violated anti-discrimination laws when it found that their shop was not a designated religious institution. The State ordered the Kleins to pay the two female customers in $135,000 in damages.
 
Citing financial hardship, the Kleins appealed the ruling and refused to pay the damages. However, on December 29, Charlie Burr said that the Kleins have raised approximately $500,000 from supporters with an online appeal. Since the damages were ordered in July 2015, interest on the damage award had been accruing. Burr said "We were in touch with their attorneys in giving precise amounts in what they needed to pay to cease collection efforts."
 
Tyler Smith, an attorney of counsel to the Kleins, said they are "devoted to honoring God in every aspect of their lives, including how they conduct themselves in this litigation." Oregon law requires that the Kleins either pay the damages or obtain a bond for the imposed amount. To stay in compliance with the law, the least expensive option was to pay into a separate account that the state government will hold  "until they prevail in their court appeal," Smith said. Oregon bureaucrat Burr said the money will be held  until all appeals are settled. In 2016, the case will go to the Oregon Court of Appeals and could go to the state's Supreme Court.
 
The case of the Kleins is just one of many that have emerged since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this year to legalize same-sex marriage. 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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