On Monday, the Associated Press reported that “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” owners Melissa and Aaron Klein paid their state-ordered damages to a lesbian couple with check totaling $136,927.07 — but that isn’t the whole story.
According to Fox News writer Todd Starnes, who spoke with Melissa Klein a few weeks before Christmas, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries confiscated all of the money in her checking and savings accounts, including one that had money set aside for her church tithe. They totaled nearly $7,000
“It was like my breath was taken away,” Klein told Starnes. “I panicked. Everything was gone.”
“We had three accounts,” she added. “I have one account that’s labeled, ‘God’s money’ – our tithing. They just took it.”
It is not directly clear why the $7,000 was confiscated by the state prior to Christmas. Monday’s check of nearly $137,000 included interest accrued for not paying the state on time. According to Starnes, the check was for the full amount owed to the state’s government and was raised through donations to the family.
The damages were awarded in July for “emotional suffering” caused by Sweet Cakes by Melissa for refusing to make a wedding cake two years ago for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer. The bakers said their refusal was prompted by religious beliefs.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.