As previously reported, Back in January 2013, owners of the Oregon-based baking company refused to provide services to Rachel Bowman and her mother due to Rachel marrying a woman.
In the testimony, Aaron Klein, co-owner with his wife Melissa Klein told Bowman, “I’m very sorry, I believe I have wasted your time. We do not do cakes for same sex weddings.” He then quoted Leviticus to Bowman and her mother.
Now, over two years later, an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) judge awarded Rachel Bowman-Cryer $75,000, and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 in damages for their emotional suffering.
The judge ruled:
“The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants. Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007.”
Supporters of the Kleins then took to GoFundMe to raise the funds due to the couple’s claim that the lawsuit had already bankrupted them and forced them out of business. Unfortunately for them, upon raising $109,000 assist with their predicament, the crowdfunding platform decided to pull the plug on the campaign.
The platform announced:
“After careful review by our team, we have found the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”
Sharing her distaste about the situation, Melissa noted on the Facebook page:
“Evidently GoFundMe has shut down our GoFundMe page and will not let us raise any money. Satan’s really at work but I know our God has a plan and wins in the end!”
She then added in another post:
“The GoFundMe account that was set up to help our family was shut down by the administrators of GoFundMe because they claimed it was raising money for an illegal purpose. We have told GoFundMe that the money is simply going to be used to help our family, and there is no legitimate breach of their terms and conditions. We are working to get the account reinstated.”
Now, According to Washington Times, the new campaign debuted on Continue to Give, which is a crowdfunding platform that is dedicated to raising funds for churches, missionaries, non-profits and individuals.
Sharing his thoughts about the situation, Continue to Give founder, Jesse Wellhoefer stated:
“We are in the business of helping people help others. Continue to Give is a fundraising platform that simply allows the community to decide who and what they support.”
The couple also took to their Facebook to reveal more details about the new initiative:
“We were recently contacted by an organization called Continue to Give offering to establish an alternative fundraising platform for us in light of GoFundMe’s decision to remove the account set up for our benefit. We accept their gracious offer and have set up an account.
“Of course, we don’t expect anything. However, so many people have asked where and how they can support us that it makes sense to establish this central and convenient platform should anyone want to give to us directly.”
Continue to Give also issued a statement:
“Every American should be free to live and work according to their faith without one government punishing them for doing so.”
As of Wednesday morning, the new campaign has successfully raised nearly $3,000.
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