GoFundMe shuts down crowdfunding pages for sued Christian florist Arlene's flowers and Sweet Cakes by Melissa

(Photo: Reuters)

The GoFundMe page in support of Christian floral shop Arlene's Flowers was taken down by site administrators this week. 

The decision follows similar action against the now-defunct Christian bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa. 

Arlene's Flowers owner Baronelle Stutzman recently filed an appeal with the Washington Supreme Court after she was found guilty of discrimination by the Benton County Superior Court.

In 2013, Stutzman refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding, although she had no problem servicing gay customers or having gay employees. The ensuing legal battle threatened to financially ruin the 70-year-old, and donations poured in through the crowdfunding site.

Over $174,000 was raised in about two months before GoFundMe shut the page down. 

Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein's GoFundMe page faced a similar fate. An account was created for the couple after they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013.

The Oregon bakery owners were found guilty of discrimination in January, and owe $135,000 in damages. The couple raised $109,000 in nine hours before their page was closed. 

A GoFundMe spokesperson said that Stutzman's page was removed because "she was in violation of GoFundMe terms," and confirmed that "the same conclusion was recently reached in regards to the 'Sweet Cakes by Melissa' campaign based on a similar violation of terms."

The crowdfunding site added that the Klein's page was problematic because the couple was "formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law."

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner, who represents Stutzman, called the actions of GoFundMe deplorable. 

"This type of vindictive, hateful behavior is terrifying," she said in a statement.

Corporations like Apple, Salesforce, and GoFundMe want to make sure they can live and work consistent with their beliefs about marriage, but then deny that same right to people like Barronelle Stutzman who lovingly served her customer for nearly a decade but simply couldn't participate in the celebration of his same-sex wedding."

Lifestyle