Christian bakers battling ‘gay cake’ fine, despite taking $500,000 donations to pay it

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The Christian bakery in Oregon that waged a court battle against anti-discrimination rules are now trying to avoid paying legal costs – despite donors giving them several times the full amount.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa came to national attention when they claimed it would be “sinful” to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, launching a legal battle against the state’s equality laws.

After losing the long-running court case last year, bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein were ordered to pay $135,000 in costs and damages .

More than  $400,000 was raised online after the anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) rallied its supporters to donate to Sweet Cakes to cover the fine.

But despite the hefty donations, the bakers are now apparently trying to avoid paying the costs.

They launched a last-ditch appeal this week in a bid to get out of paying the fine.

Melissa Klein said: “We just want the government to tolerate and accept differences of opinion, so we can continue to follow our faith.

“We hope that, even if people have different beliefs from us, that they will show each other tolerance and that we can peacefully live together and still follow our faith. That’s all we want.”

Their attorneys argued: “The government should never force someone to violate their conscience or their beliefs.

“In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs. We hope the court will uphold the Kleins’ rights to free speech and religious liberty.”

It is unclear what the money raised to pay the fine is being used for.