Christian bakers lose discrimination suit: 'They're trying to push us into the closet for being Christians'

Melissa and Aaron Klein have been open about their Christian faith on their business website and Facebook page(Photo: Sweet Cakes by Melissa Klein/Facebook)

A Christian couple embroiled in a lawsuit over an LGBT cake order were found to be in violation of anti-discrimination statutes in a decision handed down on January 29.

Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon's Sweet Cakes bakery were found guilty by an administrative law judge, and face a $150,000 fine. 

In February 2013, news broke that the Kleins had turned Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman away from their bakery, Sweets by Melissa, citing their religious beliefs.

"I didn't want to be a part of [their] marriage which I think is wrong," Aaron told KATU last year.

The couple was forced to shutter the business in 2014 due to protests that Aaron described as "mafia tactics."

"Basically, 'If you do business with Sweet Cakes, we will shut you down,'" he said of the actions taken against the bakery.

Last week's ruling paves the way for a March 10 hearing at which the couple will learn the extent of the fine against them.

The plaintiffs' attorney, Paul Thompson was happy with the verdict. 

"You cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation," he told The Oregonian. "The entire time, I felt the law was very much on our side because the law is black and white."

However, the Kleins feel an injustice has been done. 

"They're trying to push us into the closet for being Christians," Aaron told Fox News on Monday. "The Founding Fathers said we have the inalienable rights given by God — not man. Let's exercise those rights."

Upon learning of the couple's dire financial situation, gay evangelical Christian Matt Stolhandske stepped in to help.

"The Kleins say the $150,000 fee will bankrupt her family," he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

"I'm raising money to help offset that cost. I'll send whatever we raise along to the Klein family with a message of love and peace. I don't want them to suffer."

Stolhandske created a page on crowdfunding site to raise funds for the couple. Over $4,300 has been raised toward the $150,000 goal.

Although Stolhandske maintains that he doesn't approve of the Kleins' actions, he wants to shift the "national cultural conversation from one of intolerance towards one of compassion and love."