Florist Gets Small Penalty for Violating Anti-Discrimination Laws

To hear the Christian right tell it, the Gaystapo is trying to destroy anyone who owns a business and refuses to follow the law and provide their services to gay people. They’re going to bankrupt them and probably thrown them in a FEMA concentration camp too. In reality, they pay a small fine, like this prominent case in Washington:

A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled today that a Richland florist will pay a $1,000 penalty and $1 in costs and fees to the state for discriminating against a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers in 2013.

The ruling also permanently enjoins Arlene’s Flowers and its owner, Barronelle Stutzman, from violating the Consumer Protection Act by discriminating against any person because of his or her sexual orientation. This includes the requirement that all goods, merchandise and services Arlene’s Flowers and Stutzman offers or sells to opposite sex couples must be offered or sold on the same terms to same-sex couples.

“My primary goal has always been to end illegal discrimination,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “I’m pleased that today’s ruling clearly prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples. Our state laws protect the rights of Washingtonians to be treated equally — regardless of our race, sex, creed, sexual orientation or other characteristics — and I will continue to vigorously uphold these laws.”

The Attorney General’s Office asked the court for the penalty under the state Consumer Protection Act and $1 for costs and fees.

She can continue to do business, she just can’t discriminate. She can even decide not to provide flowers for any wedding so she doesn’t have to do so for a same-sex wedding (weddings are a tiny percentage of her business, so it wouldn’t be a big loss). And Stutzman will more than make that up by hitting the Christian rubber chicken circuit to tell her harrowing tale of persecution. I suggest taking a big cross with her on the road and climb right up on there.

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  • Chiroptera

    …a Richland florist will pay a $1,000 penalty and $1 in costs and fees….

    She can even decide not to provide flowers for any wedding so she doesn’t have to do so for a same-sex wedding….

    Wow! That’s exactly like Hitler rounding up the Jews and killing them!

  • John Pieret

    They are, of course, still crying persecution and claiming that Stutzman is in danger of losing everything because she may have to pay the legal fees and damages incurred by Ingersoll and Freed, who were represented by the ACLU.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-grandma-florist-fined-1001-ordered-to-work-gay-weddings-but-refuses-says-she-wont-betray-jesus-state-threatens-to-take-her-home-business-away-136613/

    The recovery for a successful plaintiff’s legal fees to correct a constitutional violation by a government is a creature of Federal law and applies in Federal cases. But this case was against a private individual for a violation of an anti-discrimination law, not a constitutional violation by a government. Unless Washington state has a law permitting the recovery of legal fees of the plaintiffs, the ADF attorney is just blowing smoke.

  • jonathangray

    Same old story. First vice is tolerated; then it is normalised; then public disapproval of it is effectively criminalised.

    It is noteworthy that as Western nations have succumbed to the gravitational pull of vice, so their power and influence and social coherence have declined.

  • Chiroptera

    You know, as much as these clowns keep claiming how proud they’d be to be martyrs for Jesus, they sure do scream and holler and cry when faced with even minor penalties.

  • zenlike

    jonathangray

    still a bigot I see, fuck off.

  • John Pieret

    public disapproval of it is effectively criminalized

    Utter nonsense. You only need to drop by Right Wing Watch to see that public disapproval of LGBT people in general and same-sex marriage in particular is rampant. What you can’t do (in those areas that have anti-discrimination laws including gays) is to open a business to the general public that provides services to some people but to denies them to others who are protected under those laws. Now, this florist claims she was more than willing to sell flowers to people she knew to be gay. As the article Ed links to says, the state AG offered to drop the whole matter is she just agreed not to discriminate anymore. As Ed points out, all she has to do was to no longer do flower arranging for weddings, straight or gay, and be content with selling flowers at her shop to all comers, and there would be no further problem.

    All she had to do was to retire her Lester Maddox memorial ax handle.

  • raven

    If this florist refused to serve sinners, she wouldn’t have any customers!!! According to the magic book we are all sinners and deserve to go to hell forever. (This was great

    planning on their god’s part.)

    In particular, adultery, premarital fornication, nonvirgin brides, sabbath breakers, heretics, blasphemers, disobedient children, and atheists are all equal to the gays as death penalty offenses. Being rich and not taking care of the poor isn’t thought too highly of, either. If you run the numbers, 99% of the US population would be sentenced to death.

    So why just pick on the gays? Because they are raving hypocrites and cafeteria xians. They need hate to keep their cults going.

  • Al Dente

    jonathangray @3

    Same old story. First vice is tolerated; then it is normalised; then public disapproval of it is effectively criminalised.

    The Roman Catholic Church is at step 2 of this routine in regards to child-raping clergy.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Hey Jonathangray whaddaya say you and I get gay married? I’m not even gay, but now that it’s legal, I just can’t stop myself.

  • grumpyoldfart

    I suggest taking a big cross with her on the road and climb right up on there.

    That reminded me of Junior Garcia who carried a cross from Texas to Washington in 2012. After “The Journey” (as he called it) he said, “I’m just waiting to hear where He has me go next. I don’t think this is my last cross walk.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/junior-garcia-arrives-in-washington-dc-carrying-cross-leads-prayer-rally-near-white-house-78238/

    Since then, nothing !

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_of_the_Wolf podkayne

    Sooooo.. a *florist*… that doesn’t like gay people. Excuse me for indulging in stereotypical thinking, but isn’t that sort of like being a dog groomer with severe dog allergies?

  • theguy

    @3

    The only “vice” comes from right-wing shits like you. Homosexuality should, and must, be normalized. Criticism (or I should say your blinkered, smug lies) are not being criminalized.

    People like you, however, go into other countries to criminalize pro-gay speech. As if Uganda or Russia are such great places to live. I wouldn’t live in either place for a million dollars.

    Gay people are causing no harm to the family, or to military readiness, whatever the fuck is meant by “social cohesion.” Presumably you mean that you’re losing your ability to force people to believe your crap. You know who’s dividing this country? Fanatics on your side.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    @jonathangray

    It is noteworthy that as Western nations have succumbed to the gravitational pull of vice, so their power and influence and social coherence have declined.

    Oh for the good old days, when Western Nations had “power and influence and social coherence” (I assume that would be sometime before the First World War.)

    No worries, jonathangray. As theguy points out, there’s always Russia, or Uganda. Or, if you aren’t too picky about the religion at the core of your social coherence, there are a number of Islamic states which don’t tolerate “vice.” No doubt their power and influence will grow accordingly (post hoc ergo propter hoc)…

  • jonathangray

    John Pieret:

    You only need to drop by Right Wing Watch to see that public disapproval of LGBT people in general and same-sex marriage in particular is rampant.

    Sed contra:

    A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally. South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible. Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’ after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend ‘Mardi Gras’ event in Cardiff. A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because ‘the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality’.

    An elderly couple have been interrogated by the police for over an hour because they complained to the council about its gay rights policies. They asked the council if they could display Christian leaflets alongside gay rights leaflets. 73-year-old Joe Roberts and his wife Helen, 68, were shocked to be visited by two policemen accusing them of making “homophobic telephone calls”. Mr and Mrs Roberts had complained to Wyre Borough Council after reading an article in their local newspaper saying the council was set to introduce wide-ranging gay rights policies. Mr Roberts complained to the Council saying that he did not agree with their promotion of homosexuality. When told that it was part of the Council’s diversity policy, Mr Roberts asked – in that case – if Christianity could be promoted in the same way. This was refused on the grounds that it would cause offence to the gay community. Mr Roberts told council representatives that he was offended by the promotion of homosexuality. The telephone conversation lasted no more than 10 minutes. Following this complaint, two police officers were sent to quiz Mr and Mrs Roberts for over an hour about the incident. The officers told the couple their actions were close to ‘a hate crime’ and warned them they were walking on eggshells.

    Nine firefighters who refused to offer safety advice to people attending a gay pride march have been disciplined. A watch manager in Glasgow has been demoted to crew manager with a £5,000 salary cut. The remaining firefighters were given a written warning. Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said all nine would undergo diversity training.

    A care home for elderly Christians has had its council funding halted after residents refused reveal if they were gay, lesbian or bisexual. The pensioners claimed the questionnaire from Brighton & Hove city council asking about sexual orientation – as part of its “fair access and diversity” policy – was intrusive.

    When they refused to disclose their sexuality, the council accused the charity responsible for the home of being closed to the gay community and cut a £13,000 grant.

    [T]he Alberta Human Rights Tribunal has forbidden evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson from expressing his moral opposition to homosexuality. The tribunal also ordered Boisson to pay $5,000 “damages for pain and suffering” and apologize to the “human rights” activist who filed the complaint.

    The complaint stems from Canada’s debate leading up to state legislation recognizing so-called same-sex marriage. In 2002, the pastor wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper in which he denounced the homosexual agenda as “wicked” and stated that: “Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.”

    The activist subsequently filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission — a quasi-judicial body that investigates alleged discrimination within the Canadian province. … While agreeing that Boisson’s letter was not a criminal act, the government tribunal nevertheless ordered the Christian pastor to “cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” Moreover, the tribunal’s decision “prohibited [Boisson] from making disparaging remarks in the future” about the activist who filed the complaint and witnesses who supported the complaint. … The tribunal also ordered Boisson to provide the complainant with a written apology for his letter to the editor.

    Und so weiter. Perhaps “criminalised” was hyperbole on my part, but this goes far beyond mere “criticism” as theguy calls it above. Let’s say low-level official harassment.

  • jonathangray

    John Pieret:

    What you can’t do (in those areas that have anti-discrimination laws including gays) is to open a business to the general public that provides services to some people but to denies them to others who are protected under those laws.

    Amusing that leftists routinely accused their ideological opponents of an overweening sense of “entitlement”, yet take it upon themselves to demand private individuals provide them with services — a demand they’re happy to see backed up by raw state power.

  • jonathangray

    raven:

    If this florist refused to serve sinners, she wouldn’t have any customers!!! According to the magic book we are all sinners and deserve to go to hell forever.

    Right. If someone doesn’t want to “serve sinners”, he might as well shut up shop (and not expected to be served himself). But this isn’t about “serving sinners” — it’s about serving public unrepentant sinners in a manner which might be taken to signal indifference to or approval of the sin in question.

    In particular, adultery, premarital fornication, nonvirgin brides, sabbath breakers, heretics, blasphemers, disobedient children, and atheists are all equal to the gays as death penalty offenses. Being rich and not taking care of the poor isn’t thought too highly of, either. If you run the numbers, 99% of the US population would be sentenced to death. So why just pick on the gays?

    Because “gay rights” are the cause du jour. Perhaps one day a Christian baker will be sued for refusing to bake a premarital fornication cake.

  • dingojack

    Aww poor little Jon-Jon – he’s still all confused about Public accommodations.

    Dingo

  • jonathangray

    Al Dente:

    Same old story. First vice is tolerated; then it is normalised; then public disapproval of it is effectively criminalised.

    The Roman Catholic Church is at step 2 of this routine in regards to child-raping clergy.

    Actually it’s at step three — orthodox would-be priests have long found themselves ‘weeded out’ of seminaries for being insufficiently liberal when it comes to sexual ethics.

    The three-step process is a universal human law — why should the clergy be immune?

    (BTW some years ago a Pharyngula commentator flagged up this story:

    Cardinal Danneels, who was very popular with the press in Belgium and abroad, was Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium from 1979 until 2010. The sympathy for pedophile attitudes and arguments among the Belgian bishops during this period was no secret, especially since 1997 when the fierce controversy about the catechism textbook Roeach made the headlines. The editors of Roeach were Prof. Jef Bulckens of the Catholic University of Leuven and Prof. Frans Lefevre of the Seminary of Bruges. The textbook contained a drawing which showed a naked baby girl saying: “Stroking my pussy makes me feel groovy,” “I like to take my knickers off with friends,” “I want to be in the room when mum and dad have sex.” The drawing also shows a naked little boy and girl that are “playing doctor” and the little boy says: “Look, my willy is big.” The drawing also showed three pairs of parents. Those with the “correct” attitude reply: “Yes, feeling and stroking those little places is good fun.” This “catechism textbook” was used in the catechism lessons in the catholic schools …

    Thoughts …?)

  • jonathangray

    Lady Mondegreen:

    there are a number of Islamic states which don’t tolerate “vice.” No doubt their power and influence will grow accordingly

    No doubt.

  • jonathangray

    dingojack:

    From your Wik link:

    … in 1984, the United States Supreme Court declared the previously all-male Junior Chamber International, a chamber of Commerce organization for persons between the ages of eighteen and thirty-six, to be a public accommodation, which compelled the admission of women into the ranks.

    Hail Caesar!

  • dingojack

    Ceasar had been dead for some time by then, Jon-Jon. Clearly your grasp on legal issues is nearly on par with your understanding of history.

    Dingo

  • Chiroptera

    jonathangray, #16: Perhaps one day a Christian baker will be sued for refusing to bake a premarital fornication cake.

    Only if the baker routinely bakes premarital fornication cakes but refuses to sell one to someone listed in the anti-discrimination statues like, say, a black person.