- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery who were ordered by Oregon state officials last month to pay $135,000 in damages for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, are now sending a message to LGBT groups to show that they care.

Although the Kleins continue to defy a July 13 order from Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, they wanted to send a message to lesbian and gay couples that, despite their ideological and theological differences, they still love and care about them.

The Kleins baked 10 cakes and drove them to California, where they collaborated with Ray Comfort — a Christian author and TV host who recently released “Audacity,” a film about homosexuality — and mailed them to gay rights groups Wednesday, The Blaze reported.

“We had been speaking to Ray about the movie, and Ray came up with the idea — ‘What about sending [gay rights groups] cakes?’” Melissa Klein told The Blaze. “And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is such an amazing idea.’”

The Kleins met with Mr. Comfort in California, where they shipped the cakes along with a letter, a $25 gift card and a copy of “Audacity” with each package.

“We’re doing it in hopes that they can hopefully see [how] to understand us as being Christian, and why we believe the way we do — and why we do the things we do,” Ms. Klein said, The Blaze reported. “They don’t understand the things we do.”

Each 8-inch cake was frosted white with red, white and blue swirls and a heart in the center with the message “We really do love you!”

Ms. Klein said the patriotic color scheme was chosen deliberately to represent American freedom and the freedom of choice.

“We wanted to have the cake represent freedom — that we all should have freedom and to live our lives the way we want to,” she said, adding that she believes gay and lesbians should have the right to live as they choose. “But I also feel like I should have the right to live the way I want to, and that should be my choice.”

In 2013, the Kleins refused to make a wedding cake for lesbian couple Rachel Cryer-Bowman and Laurel Bowman-Cryer because of their religious views. The government awarded damages to the couple.

The Kleins have filed an appeal to dismiss the $135,000 in damages and have not yet paid the money, despite a July 13 order.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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