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Gay Evangelical Raising Funds for Antigay Bakers

Gay Evangelical Raising Funds for Antigay Bakers


Matt Stolhandske, a board member for a new pro-marriage equality Christian group, says he is extending an 'olive branch' to bakers fined for refusing to make a wedding cake for a female couple.

Raising a whopping $150,000 for bakers who wouldn't bake a cake for a same-sex wedding: That, says gay evangelical Christian Matt Stolhandske, is "what an olive branch looks like."

Stolhandske penned a Washington Post column, published online today, in which he explained why he is raising money in hopes of covering the fine levied against Melissa and Aaron Klein of Oregon for violating the state's antidiscrimination law by refusing to provide the cake.

"In the face of intolerance, I am yet called to love," he wrote. "I know some Evangelicals are convinced that being gay is a grave moral sin. And I believe that they, and all people, should have the right to decide whether or not to condone religious marriage ceremonies for gay couples. But the Oregon case is not a question of religious marriage. This couple didn't ask the Kleins for their blessing. They simply asked to pay for a cake. Last I checked, a pastry is not moral approval of a religious ceremony. ... "

"I hope the Kleins will accept this sign of good will. After all, they must see that our goals here are the same -- to live our lives as we see fit and be treated equally under the law."

Stolhandske serves on the board of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, a group that launched last month to support the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples.

The Kleins refused to bake a cake for a female couple's wedding in February 2013, running afoul of their state's antidiscrimination law. The Kleins have closed the doors of the bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

Stolhandske said he expects to be denounced by LGBT and other progressive activists as an apologist for homophobes, but he said he is instead reaching out to conservative Christians: "I am not rewarding [the Kleins'] behavior, but rather loving them in spite of it. It is time for these two communities, which both cite genuine love as our motivation, to put aside our prejudices and put down our pitchforks to clear the path for progress."

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