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Bakery That Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple Raises Record-Breaking Donations

A fund set up for Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had raised $372,000 by Friday afternoon.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook page
Sweet Cakes by Melissa Facebook pageFacebook

The Oregon bakery owners who closed their doors and faced fines after they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple on religious grounds have raised a record-breaking amount of money on a Christian crowd funding site.

A fund set up for Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had raised $372,000 by Friday afternoon. The couple shut down the Gresham bakery in 2013 amid backlash over their decision not to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because, they said, it was against their Christian beliefs.

Earlier this month, the bakery owners were ordered to pay a total of $135,000 in damages to the couple "for emotional and mental suffering resulting from the denial of service," according to court documents from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The donations made on the site Continue To Give surpassed the goal of the fund by $222,000, and has raised the most money of any personal fundraiser on the site to date, Continue to Give founder Jesse Wellhoefer said.

"Not only is our platform the perfect place for the Kleins to raise money, but we also appreciate the stand they are making for religious freedom," Wellhoefer told NBC News.

Related: Judge: Bakery Discriminated Against Gay Couple Over Wedding Cake

The fund was set up in May after popular crowd funding site GoFundMe shut down a fundraising page the bakery owners had set up there.

"The campaign entitled "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" involves formal charges. As such, our team has determined that it was in violation of GoFundMe's Terms & Conditions," GoFundMe said in a statement.

In late April, after GoFundMe shut down the Klein's campaign, the site amended their "What's Not Allowed" section of their terms to include "campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts."

GoFundMe allowed the bakery owners to keep the amount they had raised on the site, according to the Sweet Cakes Facebook page, and the Christian organization Samaritan's Purse is also raising money for the couple, according to a statement. GoFundMe and Samaritan's Purse representatives both declined to say how much the Kleins raised through those portals.

“We are humbled and thankful for the generosity and support of the American public,” Aaron and Melissa Klein said in a statement. They told NBC News that the don’t know how they will use the funds because they are unsure of what other costs might be connected to their case and are still facing “financial hardship” since their business has been shuttered for two years.