A lesbian couple who were refused service at a bakery for their wedding cake have revealed that they are still receiving hate mail.
Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer took on Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and won, with courts ordering the business owners to pay damages to the couple for discrimination.
The owners of Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa were found guilty of discrimination last 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.
As the Kleins appeal, the damages awarded to the Bowman-Cryers remains locked away in government accounts.
Despite having won their legal challenge, the battle was far from over – in a new interview, the Bowman Cryers have revealed that they are still receiving hundreds of hateful messages.
They began when Aaron Klein published a notice that his bakery was under investigation after a complaint by the Bowman-Cryers, posting their phone number and address on Facebook.
The messages include: “Go jump off a cliff and take your wife with you”, “Rot in hell you f**king skanks”, “I’m buying up my ammo right now you filthy, ugly, disgusting, fat, stupid, cruel, piece of lesbian scum.”
Aaron and Melissa Klein posted the contact details of the lesbian couple online
Another reads: “You started a war b***h, I’m far from done with you’, ‘I’m getting ready for the war so I hope you and your t**t-faced girlfriend have a good hiding spot’, ‘F*****g die, or just kill yourself.”
One man in Saudi Arabia, contacted the couple to say their story had inspired him to start flogging gay people.
The couple say they have been forced to quit jobs and move homes to avoid abuse and that they now rarely leave their home town.
They said they only decided to get married after one of their best friends died of cancer, and they adopted her two children – in order to legally protect the kids’ future and to provide a family for them.
But as the lesbian couple are turned away by landlords and try to escape the abuse and publicity, they said the Kleins have only spoken out louder, fuelling their misery.
The Kleins have astoundingly claimed they cannot afford to pay the damages to the couple, claiming ‘financial hardships’.
This claim is surprising, given that $400,000 was raised online after the anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) rallied its supporters to donate to Sweet Cakes to cover the fine.
The attorney for the couple said the decision to award damages is being appealed adding: “They continue to stand on their well-established constitutional rights to live and work based on their values and beliefs.”
Labor bureau spokesperson Charlie Burr previously told the Oregonian: “It’s difficult to understand the Kleins’ unwillingness to pay the debt when they have, very publicly, raised nearly a half million dollars.
“They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order.”