The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, have more than met their goal on a crowdfunding website, smashing previous records.
The campaign on behalf of Aaron and Melissa Klein has raised 264 percent of a $150,000 goal, or roughly $364,500 as of about 12 p.m. ET on their Continue to Give page. “They have been struggling financially ever since they were forced to close the doors of their bakery in 2013 as their income was basically cut in half. If they are forced to pay the damages to the lesbian couple they will be in much worse shape than they are now,” according to the description on the page.
The campaign raised more than any other on Continue to Give, said its founder, Jesse Wellhoefer, according to The Washington Times. Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) imposed a $135,000 fine on the Kleins in April because, citing their religious convictions, they refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, for their wedding in 2013. After the couple filed a complaint against the Kleins, the family shut down their storefront. This campaign was launched because the family could not afford to pay the fine out of pocket.
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“I would appeal to everybody in the state of Oregon,” Aaron recently said on The Lars Larson Show. “Understand that this is the way things operate. We need to institute change, take the government to task for violating our constitutional freedoms at whatever level they are doing it.” The Kleins are also required “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”
The couple plans on appealing the ruling.
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