An Oregon couple forced to close their bakery after they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding have become heroes in the culture wars. And now, supporters have raised more than $253,000 for Melissa and Aaron Klein, who wanted to operate their business according to Christian principles.
A lesbian couple alleged that the Kleins’ refusal had caused them physical, emotional and mental damages. Among the symptoms they’d experienced after the bakers refused their business, they listed “excessive sleep,” “weight gain,” “worry” and “pale and sick at home after work.”
In August 2013, after the lesbian couple filed a discrimination complaint with the state of Oregon, the Kleins were forced to close their bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Since the Kleins closed the shop, their income has been cut in half, and Aaron has had to take a job as a trash collector to help make ends meet.
Then in April 2015, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries’Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough recommended a fine of $135,000, which would most certainly bankrupt the young couple. That fine was upheld in a July ruling. One of the lesbian “brides,” Rachel, would receive $75,000 in penalties; her partner Laurel would receive $60,000.
Social Media to the Rescue
But as the Kleins’ predicament has made national headlines, contributions from supporters of traditional marriage have streamed in. The original goal was $150,000, intended to cover the fine and to help the Kleins with their basic living expenses. That fundraising goal has been surpassed; as of this morning, more than $253,500 has been raised for the Klein family. Their website has been shared more than 14,000 times on social media.
The Daily Signal reports that
Originally, the fundraiser was started on GoFundMe in April 2015. Upon raising more than $100,000, the fundraiser was shut down by the site and consequently, GoFundMe changed their policies to prohibit “campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.”
However, the current fundraising web page openly supports the Kleins’ values and addresses the religious liberty violation their family has encountered.
“Every American should be free to live and work according to their faith without the government punishing them for doing so,” the fundraising website’s mission statement says.
If you’d like to support the Kleins, go to the ContinueToGive website. Your contributions will go toward the Kleins’ everyday expenses and any emergencies they may encounter.