Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Portland-area bakery which violated federal and state law by refusing to serve gay people, has finally closed for good.
Owners Melissa and Aaron Klein announced the news in a brief post on Facebook, saying “We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone’s continued prayer and support.”
The Kleins became the unofficial face of the “religious liberty” movement in 2013 after refusing to bake a wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, a same-sex couple, and claiming their religious beliefs prevented them from doing so.
The couple initially refused to pay a $135,000 court-mandated fine but eventually did after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $500,000 to aide in their defense.
They blamed the LGBT community when they closed their storefront in 2013, forcing their business into an online-only model. That sentiment, according to the Huffington Post, is still shared by the few supporters the Kleins have left:
“The Strident Conservative website blamed the ’Gay Mafia thugs working on behalf of the LGBT radicals.’ These ’thugs’ are ’armed to the hilt, and stand ready to advance their pro-LGBT, anti-Christian, anti-American agenda,’ the website claimed, in comments that were also picked up by Red State.
Conservative commentator and Fox News regular Todd Starnes blasted a ’homofascist mob’ and ’left-wing bigots and bullies,’ while the Gospel Herald claimed the bake shop was the victim of ’persecution.'”
A new crowdfunding page has been set up to help the couple again, and has raised more than 300,000 at time of posting.