Bigotry in Bloom

A Flower Shop Is Refusing to Do Business with a Gay Couple Getting Married—Is That Blatantly Illegal?

Comments

1
I imagine that this will end up being something of a rehash of the comments from the eerily similar SLOG piece from about a week ago. Although I do welcome the reminder to laugh once again about how Barronelle "helped awesome guy Ingersoll in his totally gay wooing" Stutzman was apparently totally cool with their post-floral gettings-on, but is totally against them doing such with-in the confines of marriage, because, you know, Jesus.

As such, I would really hope that the "leave it be" crowd would actually tell us how much hassle Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, or anyone gay, should have to put up with for just being their own sexual orientation, before we step in? Should that line be different than it is for the other protected distinction?

It might also be worth noting, that this same provision protects straight people.
2
Considering Barronelle (really?) was all over the news bragging about her actions, why hasnt the state already filed their case against her? She admitted it so whats the hold up?
3
I hope that they do not bring this to court. I also hope that Out and About has a night to schedule picket lines, to go out on the sidewalk during the important flower buying dates. The week before mothers day would be a good time, and around valentines day. Record everything, and youtube all the rednecks that will eventually go buy flowers at this place because of the choice they made. It will be excellent. Trust me, I'm from there, and half the peoplein that town don't even use the internet. We can teach these people without having the court decision that they are looking for.
4
I don't think we should selectively enforce nondiscrimination laws. If the couple who wanted to purchase wedding flowers was turned away based on race or religion, we wouldn't even be having a debate about whether to prosecute.
5
A florist in Rhode Island is being sued for refusing to deliver flowers to an openly atheist high school student, which seems like a similar non-discimination violation.

http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/…
6
Honestly if I was part of the couple in question I'd take my business elsewhere and donate money to get civil rights marriage equality in other states and overturn DOMA. In fact, I'd do a newspaper interview and publicly call her out for not serving them and hope it hurts her business.

However--I know this won't be popular--but I think going after a private small mom & pop business is bad PR when many states don't recognize legal marriage yet and DOMA stands. There is a "live and let live" straight semi-Libertarian crowd we need on the legal marriage equality legal side of things.

When liberals look petty, thin-skinned and histrionic they lose public opinion.
7
Why should any scofflaw go unpunished? Because the owner claims to be a Christian? Who the hell cares? She needs to penalized like anyone else.
8
In the comments section of your Slog post on this, Urqutha Forka asked: If a gay man owned a sign making business, and the westboro baptist group came in and ordered a dozen "god hates fags" signs, and the owner refused, then you all agree that the owner should be sued by the state for violating the anti-discrimination laws?

I see a difference between that scenario and this one with the florist. If this sign business owner refused to make a "God Hates Fags" sign for anyone -- and that, presumably, would be the case -- then he wouldn't be discriminating against the Westboro members on the basis of their religion. I don't see why he should be legally compelled to make a "God Hates Fags" sign anymore than a different sign business owner should be legally compelled to make a "Child Porn Is Great" sign for someone else.

In the case of the florist, one could argue that the florist is discriminating against an action (which she obviously finds offensive), not against gays per se, since she has been selling flowers to the guys for years. But, she (presumably) would not refuse to sell flowers for the weddings of other couples. In otherwords, it's not as if she finds the action of a wedding offensive -- as opposed to a sign maker finding "God Hates Fags" or "Child Porn Is Great" offensive no matter who requested those signs. Rather, she only finds weddings offensive when the people in the wedding couple are the same sex.

11
I'm not defending Freed's bigotry, but I have to ask: If I owned a hardware store and the Westboro Asshats wanted to buy my plywood to make their hideous signs, would I, by law, be allowed to deny them business? Or do laws like this only pertain to refusal to serve based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc?
12
Wooops, meant "Stutzman", not "Freed".
13
I can't believe any self respecting person would want to do business with this religious freak. But suing her is playing right into her martyr complex, the one most conservatives have, even nonreligious ones. She's a fucking useless florist for chrysakes, it's not like anyone actually needs what she sells. She's not worth it. The gay couple did the right thing by calling her out, but now they should just drop the issue. If the state wants to pursue it, that's not on them. Fight over some trivial flowers will just reflect badly on everyone involved.
14
Gays can't just "drop the issue". They see everything as though it's a fresh, new holocaust.
15
Well, I'm gay, and I was the one advocating "dropping the issue", which I still recommend the couple do. But thanks for demonstrating what tiny-meat shitheels conservatives are. You're always the victims in anything, right gangbanger? Someone was illegally denied wedding flowers, but the real tragedy is that they "turned it into a fresh new holocaust" by not shutting the fuck up about it.

Although I still think the couple should drop the issue, I think the real problem is the employee who had to quit rather than illegally enforce her employer's religious beliefs. That chick is out of a job now because of Cuntzman. If the state is going to take this up, they should really be doing it for the employee's sake.
16
A good argument for boycotting Arlene's Flowers in Richland, no?
17
Gotta choose your battles sometimes. I say find another person who's got equally pretty flowers and genuinely supports your marriage. It's better to say "I got my wedding bouqet from someone awesome" than "That florist sprayed her bitter bigot juice all over my wedding bouqet and it stinks".
18
Don't drop the issue! That's the problem. Fake Christians think they can say"It's against my religion" and get away with it. Time to take a solid stand for equal rights!!
20
The florist had better check her flowers: " In a 1922 study of 120,000 species of flowering plant, the great majority (about 72%) were reported to be bisexual. " Wikipedia

Oh dear! don't let the children look.
21
SPAM ON AISLE 19!
22
Not a big fan of bigots, but i am a big fan of personal liberty, so this is a tough one for me. Since flowers are provided by a LOT of non bigots and are not really critical to anything, i feel like the floeists freedom to be an ignorant nozzle trumps the.couples right to buy flower at THAT PARTICULAR shop. Now if there was some kind of adverse impact on the couple it would be a different story, but there just isnt a strong "but for" argument here.
23
Thank you for the very informative article. In just the day since I've read it I've managed to convince a number of the members of my parish to commit to helping the owner of Arlene's Flowers financially should she be persecuted for her religious convictions and this go to court. Mrs. Stutzman's religious freedoms should not be allowed to be trampled.
24
I want a trial so people can see if the damn law works or not. Sounds like it doesn't.
25
@8 Just for arguments sake: What if you were a gay man and had a catering business. Someone from a catholic or mormon church wanted you to cater an event at their church. The event was a meeting to strategize against gay marriage. Should you be required by law to provide catering services?
26
To me, the litmus test is: if the event were a religious ceremony for some religion other than your own, and you theologically disagreed with it (for example, many of the Protestants I know have a strong objection to infant baptism), would it be against the state's discrimination laws to refuse to provide services? If that's so, then, yes, it's a valid case of discrimination, otherwise, it's not.
27
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" tramples on the special rights gays think they have.
28
I'm old enough to remember when retail establishments had signs posted to the effect "we reserve the right to refuse service". Haven't seen one since I was in elementary school. But, I still see signs that read "no shoes, no shirt, no service".

I think this would be a case if the couple had been refused critical medical or legal services, but I'd really hate to see courts tied up with a case like this. Especially when one or two calls would have put the couple in touch with a florest thrilled to provide the flowers. In this still recovering economy, a florist who refuses to provide flowers to a wedding is cutting his or her own throat. The market will take care of these dolts.
29
Legal precedent, folks. Yeah yeah, it's just flowers but what's next? Homosexuals denied access to restaurants? Retail stores? Clinics? Seriously, if little violations like this of anti-discrimination law is allowed to stand w/out a legal battle it emboldens others to exercise their bigotry. Who's to say a conservative doctor, nurse, EMT won't eventually deny lifesaving services to a gay person because he/she disapproves of their lifestyle? If we don't use our anti-discrimination laws to bite they lose their teeth.

#23: You and your parish are irregular followers of Biblical doctrine. Your ilk are false Christians, searching for a Biblical justification for your pre-existing bigotry. False Christians are always citing the Bible a source for their bigotry. These same people find it completely acceptable to ignore the similarly-sourced biblical mandates when they apply to shellfish, pork, head-covering, beard-trimming, stoning non-virgens etc.. Unless you're willing to go Full Biblical (not possible in modern society. Thank goodnes!!) and follow every mandate to the letter of the law, I suggest you shut your noise hole.

Here's some Biblical law I bet you violate:

No Bastards May Enter the Church
"A bitched shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 23:2)

Women Will Never Teach or Have Authority Over Men
"I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent." Timothy 2:11

Divorce and Remarrying Are Both Considered Adultery
"Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." (Luke 16:18)

Even A Look Counts As Adultery
"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

Non-Virgins Are To Be Stoned (As in, with Rocks)
"But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you." (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

A Woman's Punishment For Defending Her Husband = Cut Off Her Hand
"When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

Women Must Cover Their Hair During Prayer
"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head..." 1 Corinthians 11:5

Giving Birth to a Daughter Makes You Unclean for 66 Days
"But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days." (Leviticus 12:5)

Cursing At Your Parents Warrants Death
"For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)

If Your Brother Dies, You Need to Bang His Wife
"Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother." (Mark 12:19)

http://biblethumpingliberal.com/2011/05/…
30
Whoops. Some bad grammar and typos in that one. Sorry. Got a little hot headed.
31
25/LikeItIs: @8 Just for arguments sake: What if you were a gay man and had a catering business. Someone from a catholic or mormon church wanted you to cater an event at their church. The event was a meeting to strategize against gay marriage. Should you be required by law to provide catering services?

Whether it's a gay man or straight woman (or any other combination), I don't feel that business owner should be required by law to provide catering services to that event, provided that they would also refuse to cater such an event if it was held by any other group of people (athiests, etc.) If the owner would cater a meeting against same-sex marriage held by atheists but wouldn't cater that meeting if it was held by Catholics or Mormons or some other religious group, then the owner would be discriminating based on religion.

As I noted above, if the florist refused to provide flowers for all weddings, including those of same-sex couples, then she wouldn't be discriminating based on sexual orientation. But because she would presumably cheerfully provide flowers for any opposite-sex weddings, she is discriminating based on sexual orientation.
32
They should just drop it. They live out here in bumfuck for one. There could be many negative consequences for filing a lawsuit, in their own neighborhood with folks they have to live with.
As hard as it is to be discriminated against, dragging the non-sale of flowers to the highest court in the land isn't going to change the hurt of the thing for these two.
When I had my big gay wedding here in Bumfuck, I'd have dropped my venue in a heartbeat if they'd not been completely professional about it, and given my $'s happily to someone who was. Would I ever dine there again, had they done? Not a chance in hell, and I'd be sure to tell all my friends about the treatment I'd received. This woman's business should shrivel up and die because of non-professional behavior if nothing else.
34
The florist is refusing to serve the gay couple,
and are refused service because of that, it's discrimination.

The fact that the florist is also a Christian and is using religion to refuse the couple service makes it discrimination.

Make no bones about it...religion does not give anyone the "right" to engage in discriminatory actions and then call it Religious Freedom, when you force your views on another person using it to deny it ceases to be a "Freedom" and becomes discrimination.

Let the State pursue this.
35
I find your article interesting to say the least. I will preface my opinion with I am a straight, jewish woman with no issues regarding same sex marriage. While I completely agree with the couples right to get married I believe it is the florists right to not participate. Like it or not this is America. We should ALL have the right to believe in what we like, marry whomever we choose etc, etc. But on the same hand anyone should have the right to not agree with it. True liberalism is defending the rights of someone you do not agree with. I HATE the beliefs of the white supremists, KKK etc. but I will defend to the death their right to an opinion. I just do not need to support it. Better yet I can speak out against it and hopefully educate at least one person. This florist was defending her religious beliefs just as the couple was acting on their own.
36
I thought a business owner can refuse to provide service to anyone for any reason. Isn't that their right?
37
@19. I'll take half a billion dollars for 3% interest. Thanks!

Please send me your IP address and I'll send the interest and small processing fee of 2000 USD to the Western Union in your area.
38
Not so long ago, idiots like this florist would've denied me service because I dared to marry a Caucasian, being Korean. Wake up.
39
YOU'RE NOT A CHURCH!

Just because you go to church doesn't mean you are one or that any building you occupy automatically becomes one.

To all those who keep invoking the religious "right to discriminate" in flagrant violation of the law, would you be okay living in a community wherein the only licensed businesses to provide a particular service or product to the public were allowed to decide not to sell to you because you did not share their religious beliefs?

NO CHRISTIANS ALLOWED. Hey, it's America, right? Maybe, the only grocery stores in town don't want to sell their kosher or halal foods to "YOUR KIND." So, you'll have to drive an hour or more away to shop at the secular grocery store that sells to "YOU PEOPLE." But, because you totally support the religious "right to discriminate," you'd be completely okay with the blatant discrimination against you. Right? When they told you how they believed you deserved to suffer and die because of your blasphemous beliefs, you'd welcome their awkward and insincere hug. Right?

Being a "christian," doesn't give you the right to discriminate as a owner of a business that is licensed BY THE PUBLIC to SERVE THE PUBLIC. If you want to have rights of PRIVATE ASSOCIATION like a CHURCH, you should become a private, members-only club that requires affiliation with your particular religion.

Businesses run by Atheists, Muslims and Jews can't put up a sign in their business that says "NO CHRISTIANS ALLOWED" because their business is licensed as a public business that serves the public and that uses publicly financed and maintained infrastructure in order to do business with the PUBLIC. (The PUBLIC, including the GAY PUBLIC, pays for those streets, sidewalks, water, sewer, lights, signage, police, fire, etc. that your PUBLIC business uses in order to do business with the PUBLIC.)

As a "christian" you don't get to inflict discrimination against members of the PUBLIC based on your PRIVATE beliefs.

Maybe, you need to spend some time in areas of this world where being a "christian" isn't the dominant, accepted norm. Maybe, you need to see what it's like to be on the receiving end of the religious "right to discriminate."

If you still don't get it, you deserve to be fined by the state until you do or to lose your business license when you don't. Period.
40
I quote @39,

"YOU'RE NOT A CHURCH!

Just because you go to church doesn't mean you are one or that any building you occupy automatically becomes one.

To all those who keep invoking the religious "right to discriminate" in flagrant violation of the law, would you be okay living in a community wherein the only licensed businesses to provide a particular service or product to the public were allowed to decide not to sell to you because you did not share their religious beliefs?

NO CHRISTIANS ALLOWED. Hey, it's America, right? Maybe, the only grocery stores in town don't want to sell their kosher or halal foods to "YOUR KIND." So, you'll have to drive an hour or more away to shop at the secular grocery store that sells to "YOU PEOPLE." But, because you totally support the religious "right to discriminate," you'd be completely okay with the blatant discrimination against you. Right? When they told you how they believed you deserved to suffer and die because of your blasphemous beliefs, you'd welcome their awkward and insincere hug. Right?

Being a "christian," doesn't give you the right to discriminate as a owner of a business that is licensed BY THE PUBLIC to SERVE THE PUBLIC. If you want to have rights of PRIVATE ASSOCIATION like a CHURCH, you should become a private, members-only club that requires affiliation with your particular religion.

Businesses run by Atheists, Muslims and Jews can't put up a sign in their business that says "NO CHRISTIANS ALLOWED" because their business is licensed as a public business that serves the public and that uses publicly financed and maintained infrastructure in order to do business with the PUBLIC. (The PUBLIC, including the GAY PUBLIC, pays for those streets, sidewalks, water, sewer, lights, signage, police, fire, etc. that your PUBLIC business uses in order to do business with the PUBLIC.)

As a "christian" you don't get to inflict discrimination against members of the PUBLIC based on your PRIVATE beliefs.

Maybe, you need to spend some time in areas of this world where being a "christian" isn't the dominant, accepted norm. Maybe, you need to see what it's like to be on the receiving end of the religious "right to discriminate."

If you still don't get it, you deserve to be fined by the state until you do or to lose your business license when you don't. Period."
41
I want to know why Harry Winston's doormen won't open for me. Are they allowed to do that even though they are what you, Sandial, call a public business...?

Someone should say that it is against their religion to have services denied them.

I'm concerned right winged blowhards like Bill O'Reilly will say, "See, I told you this was going to happen!" if the florist is prosecuted.
42
Just before the vote for same sex marriage this situation of making a caterer or florist provide their services for a ceremony that was against their beliefs came up. A gay spokesperson said it was a non-issue because why would anyone want a hostel person involved in their wedding. I'd say find someone truly happy for you and give them your business.
43
When my husband and I had our commitment ceremony in a non-equality state, I was very careful to mention up front that the vendors would be providing goods and services for what amounted to a same-sex wedding. If anyone had said they didn't want to work with us, we happily would have taken the business--and the money--elsewhere. There is always someplace else to get a cake, a photo-album, or flowers.

Granted, we had no legal protections--and people in Washington State do. But I'd rather give my money to someone supportive than to someone who resented being forced to provide the services. I'm also a fan of choosing battles.

In this case, the florist has lost at least two steady customers, one employee, and will undergo a barrage of well-deserved negative publicity.

In our case, discrimination never became an issue, because everyone we called was more than happy to work with us.
44
I don't agree with this law, because unlike with job discrimination, for customer-level business there is no real concern about parallel economies developing (where whites get hired for $10/hour and blacks for $2/hour) and therefore no real state interest. Unlike with employment, there is no real upward limit on the amount of retail that can exist to cater to customers one group refuses to serve. It would be really nice if the Washington State Government realized that it does not have an absolute and total authority over all aspects of our lives.

This said, although I am against gay marriage I would still sell to the couple if I was the florist. I would realize that it is my place to provide flowers for a fee, and that if I decide to make much ado about such a tiny part of somebodies life I will simply be replaced. It is simply an act of juvenile impropriety, neither a legitimate concern for a court nor a legitimate action for a business owner, simple pettiness on all sides. I hope the judge throws a couple nice big bricks at the heads of the gay couple for wasting his time, and then moves on to something important.
45
"I don't think we should selectively enforce nondiscrimination laws. If the couple who wanted to purchase wedding flowers was turned away based on race or religion, we wouldn't even be having a debate about whether to prosecute"

I agree they should not be selectively enforced. They should not be enforced at all unless employment or a government authority is involved. It is simply too easy to have parallel retail. It is not like employment where you only need one and the total number of jobs is small relative to the size of the economy. Likewise, if a government authority is involved, it no longer is accountable to the free market at all.
46
For those assuming the florist should have the right to choose who to sell to (particularly #22 and #35), consider why we have antidiscriminatory laws.

At one time, "colored" people were not allowed in certain establishments, had to use side doors, had to sit in the back of the bus, etc.

I think most people understand clearly that having a law to protect these people from discrimination is necessary, whether or not it is considered fair to the vendor (or other party).

If we choose not to enforce antidiscriminatory laws in this case (and I'm not saying the couple should be the ones to file charges), we will be weakening the law. That could ultimately lead to arbitrary decisions on when it can and cannot be enforced. Perhaps the grocer in a small town could decide not to sell to gays. Or the gas station won't permit jews inside. Or the muslim-owned theatre won't allow caucasions. Bad slippery slope.

47
If this couple chooses to not take her to court, then I suggest other same-sex couples in need of flowers call her up and place their orders. Deluge her with dozens of orders for same-sex weddings, and when she denies them - maybe one of those couples will have the guts to sue her ass and teach her and her fellow "Christians" a lesson.

She's a bigot and bigots do NOT deserve a "free pass" from those who say "live and let live". Fuck that shit. Sue her bigoted ass.
48
she completely had a right to not sell them flowers based on her relgious rights. its amazing how this is such a twisted liberal state that if it had been the other way around and they had refused her service because they didnt agree with her lifestyle as a christian not one of you would care. you would probably endorse them. and wise punk your just an idiot. Im from there. you must obviously be from benton city and not even get out much there. its a community of mainly scientists, engineers, physisists, welders, carpenters, pipefitters, iron workers, and yes farmers. And trus me. theyre probably more computer savy and they are obviously blatenly more intelligent than you.You must be from seattle where you think us hillbilly people who live near Hanford glow in the dark. Oh and just so you know. we dont. but never the less you all should stop wishing ill on someone because they excersized they're right to religious freedom. Christians should be able to take a stand on their beleifs. I dont think people who live a homosexual lifestyle are bad people. i dont have any grudges against them but if i was in her position based on my relationship with jesus and morals that I follow i would have done the same thing. And honestly the only reason the stranger publishes stories like this are because theyre proudly part of a biased liberal media who would rather patronise and make it out that its evil to have morals and stick to them. unless that is you support what the liberal media says you should. but hey im just an knuclescraper from eastern washington.
49
Perhaps if a flower seller rejects your business, you could take your business to another flower seller. Rumor has it that there are several such in the region, some of whom are eager for customers.
50
we need a heavy hand. get shit working around here.

if you are capable of refusing ANYONE a flower, you will not be allowed to be a florist

just like if you are capable of refusing ANYONE medication, you should not be allowed to be a pharmacist.

51
I'd like to add that I've been a great fan of this publication and probably won't let this affect my dedicated readership to it. [...]

It caused quite the big argument between me and my best friend and I'm not wondering who's right and who's wrong, I accept that everyone can and should have their own personal opinion, but what other might have thought about it.

The main argument in our conversation was that the state of Washington is allowed to impose it's laws over someone's morals, my friend sees nothing wrong with this whereas I do. I believe my personal code of ethics to include, and in most cases surpass, most US laws all the while disagreeing on other laws or legal unfairness. Her main argument was that the state of Washington could impose it's morals on it's citizens, I find the whole concept scary. If you're not allowed to have your own morals then what about your thoughts?

About the article and the situation as described by it, a paragraph at a time.
"If they choose to get married, that's fine, if that is what they believe. I just choose not to be a participant in the wedding.", said the florist. She's stated her morals, why do people feel that they can impose their morals or anyone else's on anyone? Oh right, the law. Doesn't she have a right to act according to her morals? Sure these morals would have to be within the confines of the law, but since when is it illegal to think differently than the state? Wasn't that used as an argument FOR gay rights not too long ago?
It is noted that the florist had these guys as customers for 9 years, presumably sending flowers to each other, that the florist would have been aware of the situation. The florist accepted them as customers regardless of sexual orientation. Where she drew the line was when she was asked to provide for something she didn't believe in. At the very least she stood her moral ground instead of being a sell out to state dictated regulation. She's been a supporter of that couple's lifestyle for 9 years and when she decides to stop they get pissed.
The couple was quoted: "After I posted it, I started crying. [...] I had to do this. We are not wanting to cause some fight or create a national debate about this, but it was wrong what happened to us." yeah... hard not to go there but really, her refusing to sell you flowers made you cry? Is she the only florist in town? Does that even matter? And you felt wronged because someone stood up for their morals and there's a law out there, a recent one, supporting you... get her according to the law and be done with it instead of ruining her business and don't create exactly what you claim you don't want to create, that's just unintelligent to say the least, or blatantly lying, your choice. The law's not always going to be on your side when someone says “no”, get used to it.
A former anything backing up anything else has very little say in the matter, it's a poor power-play to use someone's previous high class standing in an argument. I'm guessing there's a reason that person's a former whatever. As the saying goes, he/she's an ex for a reason.
The plaintiffs, that's about all I can call them right now, don't want to be rash, be vindictive and don't want "something that isn't moving towards the greater good." you mean pushing their ideas onto someone else? The greater good according to them?
Sure let's sue people who stand up for what the believe in, regardless of the fact that they put up with what they don't believe in for 9 years, S-M-R-T!
Heck the woman even claims she's "had the privilege of working with some very talented people that happen to be gay." An employee of hers quit, choosing morals over money, interestingly just like the florist is doing, I'm guessing that employee's not facing a lawsuit.
The author of the article makes a sly spin against religion, first by tying the florist beliefs with Christianity, when the florist has stated that these are her own morals. Sure she's adopted them from Christianity but the author's adopted theirs from state laws or civil rights or wherever, they are the author's personal ideals as much as the florists. Then by tying the florist supporters to Christianity. Choosing to use a religious view as that of opposing gay marriage is way to simplistic, it's exclusive of may religious communities in WA that are pro-gays and have greatly help the gay "agenda" in this state, I dare say it couldn't have happened without them.
I do not politically affiliate with anyone, I'm for equal rights and strongly believe that morals carry more personal authority than laws. Laws are in place because people lack the moral drive to do what's right. I don't see how this can be a "clever ploy to cast antigay conservatives as the victims of discrimination themselves." Why should the state force me to participate in something I don't want to? If I'm reading the following quote right, the gay rights laws that passed last November do not protect those who oppose it, in fact it would appear that if you do oppose it you are criminalized. You're either for us or you're a criminal, sounds quite extreme for a bill about equality. Following the same paragraph, I don't know about Christians conservatives but for me, filing a lawsuit is a blow against equality and fairness, potentially making that couple my new "whipping boys" of my personal view on the right to independent thought and behavior. Society isn't the military, we can and are expected to think differently than others within our midst. It'll be a sad day for all of us when the Human Rights Commission sues independent thinking into non-existence.
I would think that the florist, supporting gay relationships as it has for 9 years, wouldn't be akin to treating them as second-class citizens. If you want bigots go check out my family back east.
The author then goes on to bait the florist into a controversy, check this out: I'm a Christian, I approve gay rights and I eat shellfish. For all I know, you're an American citizen and blindly follow your government, including our President, regardless of personal views... fair's fair, independent thought applies to all. How else would you explain the multitude of factions within the Abrahamic religions, yet alone the Christian ones.
I dare think the recent enthusiasm the author's found at a recent wedding expo is due to the market suddenly opening up to a whole new segment, ie money not a change in morals throughout the USA.

My whole stance can be summed up into money vs. morals. The florist will lose business and might even close down because of a moral stance whereas others have bent their own morals in order to make money, some might call them sellouts and are protected or encouraged by state laws.

In one of my arguments with my friend, I compared the florist to an ammunition manufacture, selling to who they believe are in the right and refusing to sell to those they disagree with... who would fault them? The USA armed the Taliban against the Russians, now that the Taliban are against us, we don't arm them anymore... Overly simplistic I know, but hopefully you get my point. Who cares if they share the same morals you do as long as they accept your money, right?

I remember when this paper was about supporting the underdog, what's changed?

Any views on the subject would be welcome and an actually open discussion with the author would go a long way, reserving the right to define "open discussion" as one on a level playing field.
I am not against gay rights but for individual freedoms including gay rights. I like what the Human Right groups have done and find myself rooting for equality and fairness Those two terms are different, cannot be exchanged and on a personal level, equality trumps fairness as equality applies to all and fairness is personal.

On a technical note, I deplore that “Unregistered Comments” are not shown, thus giving more perceived authority to registered users. This isn't the first time I've wanted to comment but was deterred by the registration process. CAPCHA's do less good then actual moderation of comments, see posts 19, 21, 33 and 40 as a clear examples or 9, 10 and 37 comments as they don't bring anything, not even a personal opinion on the topic at hand. Incidentally I find myself agreeing with # 35, 42, 44 (for the most part) and 45. Most commentators forget the 9 years they had been in business together or dismiss the idea of personal morals in favor of law. It's interesting that the law protects buyers from discriminatory sellers but not the other way around, I can seek out a particular service and deny purchasing it from someone based on anything I believe.
52
1. we, the majority, thru legislation, or thru courts interpreting other legislation like the WLAD, can decide this is illegal. no opinion on whether it is.
2. if it is, it can result in a civil lawsuit.
3. such suits typically are for compensatory damages and in some cases that includes emotional distrress; in Washington, usually not punitive damages.
4. the damages from not getting flowers from this one florist could be great if you're living in the midle of nowhere and can't have access to another florist. you might have to spend a few thousand bucks to get flowers from someone else! but if you are in a city, not likely there are much money damages.
5. it's hard to say the emotional distress of this is much; this isn't like, say, going into a hair salon and being denied service based on race; this isn't a public accomodation. it's not that humiliating. it's mildly humiliating to a mild degree, if I were on ajury I would find it hard to give more than a few thousand dollars in damages. in general, grocres and stuch are NOT refusing to sell to gays and the slippery slope seems be tilted in favor of equality, too. if this was part of an entire society where gays are hounded (imagine a small mormom town) they would have a chance at more damages. this isn't a matter of filing "charges" it's a civil suit and sometimes like when you sue the cops the damages are $1.
53
Yeah civil settlement ahead. Donate the proceeds to gay marriage cause
54
A true bigot wouldn't have given them the time of day to begin with, the LGBT community is shooting itself in the foot by attacking someone who's supported them for 9 years.
55
I agree with Representative Matt Shea - ... just because I'm single, heterosexual, skinny, white and under 65 - you can treat me any way you want BUT add a little color, a little different sexual orientation, a little age, make me obese, so I am now considered handicapped and the world could be mine. If you own the store you should have the right to choose who you serve. As we all have the right to purchase or NOT to purchase from your store. We are dooming ourselves by continuing to make laws to try and make everything and everyone equal. Pretty soon we will all need to get in line to ask permission to wipe our own noses. Wake up people, the only ones that win in law suites are the lawyers and courts. Freed and Ingersoll should just take their business elsewhere. For every business that won't serve you there is another one that will.
56
As I understand it, Jesus never says a word about homosexuality in the bible. Not one sentence. So how is it gay marriage goes against her relationship with Jesus?

Rhetorical question. We all know she's just a bigot.
57
@29 & @30: Thank you for providing 10 good reasons for me to not heed the Bible, no doubt exclusively written by cruelly misogynist men.
58
I think America has a culture of professional victimhood. "We think it's unfair to put anybody through this kind of experience..." Good grief. It's very simple: there are a lot of other florists, and they can get what they want there. Just because the majority of people vote on something, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone has to participate, even against their beliefs...that would be the "tyranny of the majority"; I think it was Thomas Jefferson who warned against that.
59
If I were a florist, I wouldn't cater to gay weddings, either. It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, it's a matter of personal preference. I don't think gay marriage is a real marriage anyway, not by any rational definition. I think that the deep hindsight of history will show the whole thing to be a really dumb idea...it may take many years for people to understand that, though. History is full of dumb things that a lot of people were excited about at the time.
60
Personally, i am gay, but if i were to own a business, it is my right as an American to refuse service. I would do it politely and with regard to someones feelings and may even make referrals if necessay to accommodate the request. Thats just good business. Not everyone is going to have the same feelings as everyone else with regard to lifestyles. Its just a fact- we do not live in a utopian society. I think the gay community needs to stop wearing it feelings on its shirt sleeves everytime it feels slighted and do something that clearly common sense doesnt dictate to them: "make another choice of florists, or bakers, or churches". It is not as though there are not plenty of florists who would be estatic for the business. By doing this, it also allows the general public to look at us as stronger individuals and not a bunch of cry babies because not everyone will conform to our values. wants and needs. If this florist can afford to throw away business, then lets be the better community and move on to choices that actually may turn out better for our events and stop whinning because someones faith in something may differ from ours.
61
No it is NOT your right as an American to discriminate!
What the fuck, did half the commenters here flunk civics class?

62
@61 I don't think they've taught civics in elementary or secondary schools in decades.

American History classes would have covered this, if we actually covered Reconstruction, the Nadir of Race Relations and the Civil Rights Era with even a small amount of rigor.

Perhaps next February.
63
@61 when does it turn into discrimination against people who don't have the same values as you? Freedom of thought baby, freedom of thought. Besides there's like 7 other florist in that town, give me a break.
64
At the risk of having my house burned down by progressive assholes, marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman. I have homosexual friends and relatives who I love deeply. It's not about homophobia or other bullshitty terms; it's about 'what is a marriage'. Have a civil union . .. or not. Have equal rights as a couple. Fine. Marriage is still between a man and a woman and anything else is blasphemy. It's like the boy(s) who decided they wanted to be a girl scout instead of a boy scout. Get a fucking clue. If you're a boy, join the boy scouts. If you don't like it,create a new group. Don't force yourself into the girl scouts. Helloooooo, girl scouts is a group for girls. "Marriage" is between a man and a woman. (Not conceding that government should have anything to do with marriage in the first place.)
65
The history of marriage has nothing to do with what marriage is today. If we were to stall the evolution of marriage where it began, romantic love would not exist in this union and instead men would sleep with prostitutes, marry multiple women and have many concubines. It's confusing to me how people argue against gay marriage using "the history of marriage" as a reason. Marriage today looks nothing like it did originally, was not a religious institution, and therefore cannot be argued to be the reason gay marriage is wrong.
66
@34
"Make no bones about it...religion does not give anyone the "right" to engage in discriminatory actions and then call it Religious Freedom, when you force your views on another person using it to deny it ceases to be a "Freedom" and becomes discrimination."

But isn't that what the couple is trying to do.
what about her freedoms,just because you don't like what she believes doesn't give you the right to stop her freedoms. I don't believe in gay marrage, so are they going to sue me too. freedom is freedom to a point.
67
Soviet-supported Communitarianism (aka, "soft" Communism) relies heavily on the destruction of the family unit, for the purpose of replacing the family with the State. This is necessary for the progression of Communitarianism.

This is why central banker-backed institutions and media, using infinite fiat money created by central banks, are pushing for what is called the "demoralization of society."

Research ex-KGB intelligence and propaganda expert YURI BEZMENOV and his books, for details.
68
#65 well said! BRAVO!

To the gay dude that had a commitment ceremony in a state without "protections" that thinks the issue should be dropped..... How do you think people of Washington State gained this "protection"?

To the person that believes not prosecuting this weakens the law... Great point.

To the guy that thinks homosexuality is a choice. I will enlighten you that it is not a choice. Also the earth is round.

Wouldn't it be bitter sweet if the florist had a gay son and a transgender daughter.

69
If Ms. Stutzman had gently let the couple know of her personal beliefs in the event they would prefer to use another florist, this unpleasant situation might have been avoided.

Also, I wonder why Muslim-owned businesses don't seem to receive more attention from gay activists, many of the owners of which believe in flogging, stoning or beheading homosexuals.
70
It seems like the LGBTers, and their CORRUPT enablers like the ACLU, are doing all they can to get rid of Freedom of Religion in the USA.