More than $210,000 has been raised in support of the Oregon Christian bakers who are being forced by the state to pay $135,000 in “emotional damages” to a lesbian couple for declining to bake them a wedding cake in 2013, an act that would have violated their deeply-held religious convictions.
Although an online fundraiser established on GoFundMe.com to support Melissa and Aaron Klein, the owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, raised over $100,009 in nine hours in April, the campaign was taken off the website because the Kleins had been “formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law.”
After removing the Kleins’ fundraiser, GoFundMe later revised its user policy to state that the site can’t be used to raise money in “defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.” The website additionally shut down the fundraiser for Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington florist who’s also facing heavy fines for not working a gay wedding.
After their campaign was removed by GoFundMe, evangelist Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse stepped in to provide a platform to raise funds for the married couple, through the organization’s donation page designated for persecuted Christians in the U.S.
Another online campaign in support of the Kleins was set up on ContinueToGive.com, which is a “faith based online tithing and giving platform founded on biblical principles” devoted to helping churches, missionaries, nonprofits, individuals and adopting parents.
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