It’s a simple question.
If a Christian baker isn’t allowed to deny service to a same-sex wedding, why should GoFundMe be allowed to reject a customer trying to raise money for the beleaguered baker?
GoFundMe has launched the latest attack on Christian businesses that service weddings, and this time even some proponents of same-sex marriage agree that a double standard is being applied against the believers.
In random interviews conducted on both sides of the issue among people rallying outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, the Daily Signal found an interesting trend.
Even among liberals and some same-sex couples, the majority of those asked if GoFundMe should be able to pick and choose who it does business with said it didn’t seem right if Christians weren’t allowed to pick and choose their customers.
The question regarded the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery near Portland, Oregon. They were essentially put out of business when a federal judge hit them with a $135,000 fine for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. The couple accused the Kleins of “mental rape” and the judge agreed, slapping the Kleins with a fine they had no ability to pay. A supporter then opened a GoFundMe account to help raise the money, but it was shut down after less than nine hours by the online crowdsourcing company.
When presented as a simple, straight-forward question – Is it right that GoFundMe gets to choose who it does business with, but the bakery does not? – most said no.
Watch clip of interviews outside Supreme Court on the first day of oral arguments in a landmark same-sex marriage case:
“That’s an interesting scenario. I don’t think it is right for GoFundMe to shut them down,” said Oscar Soto of Annandale, Virginia, who was carrying a rainbow flag. “I mean, if they want to raise for something that GoFundMe disagrees with, I think GoFundMe should let them raise it.”
“I think, honestly, they’re just sinking to the same level they’re doing, and I think GoFundMe is equally at fault,” said Adam Boyd of Cheyenne, Wyoming, who was at the rally with Soto.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Terry Pace of Orange, Virginia.
“You can’t tell people they can’t deny a lesbian couple and then go and deny them. That’s not fair, “said Matt Kronlokken of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Not all agreed. Some did take the side of GoFundMe.
“I think it’s a matter of discrimination of a minority group who has traditionally been marginalized by our legal structures in the United States,” said Todd Harvey of Washington, D.C.
“It depends on why you’re choosing not to do business with someone. Religious freedom is a right in the United States but not religious discrimination,” said Barbara Black of San Jose, Costa Rica.
GoFundMe says its policy doesn’t allow accounts that raise money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”
At a loss for words
Other interviewees seemed to favor GoFundMe’s policy of rejecting Christian fundraising accounts but were at a loss to explain their position in a coherent manner.
“That is a company that, eh, I mean, I think there’s a difference between hate and discrimination. … I’m not really sure, where I’m going with this, but, ha!” said Christie Rebsch of Montgomery County, Maryland.
Others weren’t prepared to give an answer, but told the Daily Signal, “That’s a good question” and, “That’s a really good question. I haven’t really thought about that.”
Meanwhile, a competitor to GoFundMe in the online crowdsourcing business said it would not discriminate against Christians seeking to raise money to pay fines.
GoGetFunding, based in London and recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top-six fundraising sites, said in an email statement:
“We have always attempted to be one of the most flexible fundraising platforms available, having a policy of allowing anyone to fundraise on our site, provided they are not committing a crime in doing so and their campaign does not breach our terms and conditions.”
Sweet Cakes by Melissa is not the only Christian bakery that GoFundMe has rejected from its system.
Barronelle Stutzman’s business, Arlene’s Flowers of Richland, Washington, had raised more than $150,000 over several weeks after it was hit with an expensive lawsuit by the ACLU and a $1,000 fine from the Washington state attorney general’s office for denying a floral arrangement to a homosexual couple’s wedding. But the account mysteriously disappeared recently from GoFundMe’s site.
“Suddenly it’s gone, likely the next victim in GFM’s left-appeasing policy of treating discrimination allegations about a religious business owner’s objection to gay marriage as too heinous for a respectable business to tolerate,” wrote one blogger on HotAir.com.