Bakery that refused gay wedding cake ordered to pay $135,000 after legal battle

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A bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple has been ordered to pay $135,000 in damages, after fighting a lengthy legal battle.

The owners of Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa were found guilty of discrimination this year, after refusing to make a cake for lesbian wedding in 2013 – despite making divorce celebration cakes and cakes for ‘gay cure’ groups without issue.

The bakery’s owners later accused gay activists of using “militant, mafia-style tactics” to force their business to shut down – and attempted to raise over $100,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to cover their legal costs.

However, following the case, owners Aaron and Melissa Klein have been ordered to pay damages of $60,000 Laurel Bowman-Cryer, and $75,000 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer, who they refused to serve.

Oregon labour commissioner Brad Avakian noted in his ruling: “This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation.

“Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

The US branch of Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse is raising money for the Kleins, who they claim are “persecuted Christians”.

The charity’s President Franklin Graham previously launched a boycott of Wells Fargo, when they released an advert featuring same-sex parents.

The preacher and charity head has also claimed that United Stated will ‘disintegrate’ because of same-sex marriage, and previously said that Vladimir Putin is “doing what’s right for Russia” by implementing anti-gay laws.

Graham is the President of international charity Samaritan’s Purse, and is listed as a trustee of Samaritan’s Purse UK, which runs the annual Christmas Shoebox Appeal.