The Oregon bakers fined for refusing to make a wedding cake
for a lesbian couple
raised a record-breaking $358,500 on a religious crowdfunding site —
more than 2 1/2 the $135,000 state penalty they faced.
Supporters of Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein raised more money than any previous campaign in the history of the Wisconsin faith-based Continue to Give crowdfunding website,
its founder tells the Washington Times.
The Oregonian reports
as of Wednesday the campaign had raised $358,500 from 7,750 donors, more than doubling the $150,000 goal announced when it began May 5.
Along with $109,000 raised through GoFundMe,
and an undisclosed amount through Samaritan's Purse,
online donors have come up with nearly $450,000 to help the Kleins in their legal battle with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries agency's finding that they discriminated against the women.
The Kleins argued they refused service to the couple based on their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.
Though the fundraising began on the GoFundMe site, the effort was halted because of the site's ban on campaigns "in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts," the Oregonian reports. The Kleins were allowed to keep the $109,000 raised.
Continue to Give then took up the cause.
The Oregonian reports the Kleins, in a statement, were "humbled and thankful."
"The amount shows that Americans all over this country are acting on their beliefs and loudly saying that they do not agree with a government that punishes people for their religious beliefs," the statement said, the Oregonian reports.
How to disperse the money is not yet been worked out, the couple says.
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