Florist to Gay Customer: Jesus Won’t Let Me Do Your Wedding

A florist in Richland, Washington says she won’t provide flowers for a gay customer’s wedding because of her relationship with Jesus:

Rob Ingersoll has been a customer at Arlene’s Flowers for nine years. When he and his partner Curt got engaged recently, he knew he’d ask Barronelle Stuzman, their favorite florist and the owner of Arlene’s, to prepare the flowers for the wedding.

He wasn’t ready for her to shoot him down:

When he asked her, Stuzman politely declined. “And I just took his hands and I said I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Stuzman, who believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Ingersoll said he and his partner have been devoted Arlene’s customers for years and that the owner must have known they were gay, as they often sent flowers to each other. Regardless, she’s not changing her mind and she sees nothing wrong with her actions:

Stuzman insists she does not discriminate against same sex couples or any group for that matter. “We hire gay people. I have friends that are gay, that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage,” she said.

Stuzman violated Washington’s anti-discrimination law by refusing Ingersoll service. Several attorneys have contacted Ingersoll about the case, including the ACLU, but he says he’s not sure if he’ll take action against her. In the meantime, as is often the case in stories like this one, the social media backlash against Stuzman will take care of the rest:

“I’ve had hate mail. I’ve had people who want to burn my building, I’ve had people say they’ll never shop here again and tell all their friends. And I’ve had other people say thanks for standing up for your convictions and we’ll shop here and we’ll back you in any way we can,” Stuzman said.

Bigotry and discrimination are always painful, but it’s especially stinging when it comes out of nowhere from someone you thought was above it. I certainly hope Rob and Curt’s marriage is much more loving and open than this woman’s “relationship” with Jesus.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • Randay

    It’s funny that Rob(ert) Ingersoll has the same name as Robert Ingersoll, the great agnostic orator of the 19th century. A couple of quotes: “Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery.” and “If
    a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would
    be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he
    would be insane.”

    • Reginald Selkirk

      And by “funny” you mean awesome.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      That was my first thought when I read the story!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706781030 Barry St. Denis

    “Some of my best friends are ________ ” (insert excuse here). so tired of hearing that lame excuse over and over and …

    • CelticWhisper

      The sad thing is, the statement is probably true. Some of the prejudicial assbag’s best friends probably ARE (gay|atheist|$POLITICAL_PARTY|small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri).

      Which then prompts one to ask, if some of your best friends are gay (or what-have-you), what the hell kind of friend are you* to say the things you say and treat them like second-class citizens?

      *Not YOU you, Barry. “You” as in the prejudicial assbag in question.

      • eonL5

        +1 for “small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri”

      • Stev84

        Mind worms are not furry

    • Anon

      I’m a lesbian. I have a large number of friends who are straight.

      If I ever found out any of them were using that bullshit excuse of ‘some of my best friends are gay’ (meaning me) to promote some kind of bigotry I wouldn’t count them as a friend ever again.

      All the LGBT people in the world are people, not get-out-of-bigotry-free cards. You don’t get to use them like that.

  • Duke OfOmnium

    Isn’t it great to have a Jesus you can blame your bigotry on? I wish I had one.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      This perspective always bothers me. She might be a bigot. But it’s also possible she feels bound to obey a bigoted deity to save her own ass from punishment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Porter/100001075278352 Ben Porter

        So than she is either a bigot or a coward?

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I won’t restrict it to that dichotomy because there may be other things to consider… but within the bounds of your question: yes. I can’t fault a person who fears the most powerful being in existence — one that has expressed it preferences, and has created the most horrific punishment for disobedience imaginable. I consider that justified cowardice.

          • nojinx

            That is a point. Indoctrination into belief in gods often involves use of fear as an enforcement.

          • AxeGrrl

            I can’t fault a person who fears the most powerful being in existence — one that has expressed it preferences, and has created the most horrific punishment for disobedience imaginable.

            what “disobedience”? What ‘holy’ commandment/directive would she be ‘disobeying’ by providing flowers for this wedding, m6w?

            What she could possibly fear ‘retribution’ for?

            Sorry, but this just smells of attempting to invent a scripturally-based reason-to-fear in order to justify illegal discrimination and feel ‘righteous’ in doing so.

            Hey, maybe I can spin some tenet of secular humanism in order to avoid treating Christians fairly! (being facetious, I would never do such a thing).

      • Duke OfOmnium

        But then again, we create god in our image.

      • John Small Berries

        I would agree, except that Christians seem to be very good about ignoring other transgressions against Biblical rules.

        The “clobber verses” used to justify their bigotry against gays are nestled in amongst plenty of other rules that Christians feel safe to ignore. Where are the people proposing Constitutional amendments to deny rights to perjurers? Where are the people telling convicted thieves that they aren’t fit to be parents? Where are the picket signs reading “GOD HATES GOSSIPS“? Or telling people who have sex while the woman is menstruating that their ungodly lifestyle renders them unfit to teach children?

        These transgressions are all within a couple of verses – or even within the same verses – as the mentions of homosexuality. Yet they don’t receive anywhere near the opprobrium. I find it very hard to believe it’s about “obeying a deity” when it’s that narrowly targeted, and other transgressions surrounding them are cheerfully ignored.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I completely agree with you. My objection is to the categorical treatment of theists as if they don’t sincerely believe these things. Some of them do.

          Regardless of apparent hypocrisy, as you rightly pointed out, I think sincere fear should still be considered. Not all simplified versions of religion come from the people practicing them. Their leaders, denominations, etc take part in altering the message. Whether the message of god be accurate or skewed, if you believe it, then you will act accordingly.

          • Art_Vandelay

            But she doesn’t believe it. If she really believed it, she wouldn’t serve homosexuals or hire them. If she really believed it, she’d dig a hole, throw these two in it, and bludgeon them to death with rocks. Her bigotry isn’t being dictated by the Bible…it’s being dictated by how much society will allow her to get away with.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. My first comment was about a general approach to Christians, and not about specifically Stuzman. Anything else I might respond with was already posted in response to John Small Berries.

            • ClaesE

              Your argument presupposes that she listens to logic…

          • John Small Berries

            Sure, some of them do sincerely believe those things. But do they display animosity towards gays because eight verses in the Bible condemn homosexuality, or are they merely holding up the Bible as a shield because those eight verses make them feel like their animosity is justified?

            If it’s the former, then their lack of similar levels of animosity towards other people who are condemned in the same breath as gays makes no sense whatsoever.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              Agreed.

      • fentwin

        What matters the course taken if the final destination is hate and bigotry?

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          It’s about properly assigning blame.

          • sane37

            Blame lies solely with the individual making the decision. She could decided to break the rules. Like she did when she started her business instead of staying home and finding a husband like her book says she should.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              It seems like an easy decision: 1) risk fiery, eternal torment, or 2) don’t. This is, of course, assuming that her reason(s) are religious.

              I find your assessment to be overly simplistic. A person doesn’t choose to believe something. The idea, and whatever made it seem true, came from somewhere else.

              • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

                @m6wg4bxw:disqus
                Aren’t you essentially making the insanity plea for Stuzman?

                Others are pointing out her hypocrisy in ignoring other verses.

                But what about her breaking Washington State law? She is so accustomed to ignoring pieces of the Bible that she just ignores that little bit, or interprets it different.

              • RowanVT

                I saw those options as a teenager, decided that God was evil and absolutely not worthy of worship, and ran away from Christianity. Despite being raised Christian. But my parents instilled actual morals in me growing up, plus I have an anti-desire to see anyone or anything hurt.

                So for me, *despite* the fear of Hell, denying God was an easy choice, because it was the only moral choice.

              • AxeGrrl

                It seems like an easy decision: 1) risk fiery, eternal torment, or 2) don’t

                The sole act of providing flowers for a wedding would put her at risk of “fiery, eternal torment”? according to what holy text/scriptural passage, m6w?

      • sane37

        She is solely responsible for her actions, even if she may have confused she conscience for an imaginary sky wizard.

      • AxeGrrl

        She might be a bigot. But it’s also possible she feels bound to obey a bigoted deity

        Imo, it doesn’t make a difference. We all have to take responsibility for our beliefs/values. It doesn’t matter ‘where’ they came from.

        I’m very tired of hearing people say “it’s not me saying homosexuality is an abomination, it’s God!”. Sorry, but if you’re endorsing that stance, then you’re asserting it too. This lame shrugging of the shoulders by such believers, this attempt to pass the buck in order to avoid responsibility for the vile bigotry that they’re distributing, is disingenuous and cowardly, imo.

        If someone truly believes in this bigoted deity, then they should own that and close their business if they want to remain ‘true to their beliefs’. But they sure as hell shouldn’t expect to be exempted from the laws that every other business must adhere to.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          The type of Christian you’ve described isn’t the type I’ve been defending.

          • AxeGrrl

            You’re defending her if she “truly believes”, no? My point is that it doesn’t matter because that ‘true belief’ still results in bigoted action. I understand that she may ‘fear’ this deity, but the end result is still the same.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              I think it matters. I could hold a gun to your head and demand that you abuse a homosexual because I hate them. And if you do it to avoid whatever punishment I might cause you, it doesn’t mean that you hate homosexuals. It means that you fear disobeying me.

              A properly parallel hypothetical example would be more lengthy, but I think this makes the point.

              • AxeGrrl

                I could hold a gun to your head and demand that you abuse a homosexual because I hate them. And if you do it to avoid whatever punishment I might cause you,

                But what Biblical quote refers to punishing people for serving homosexual customers?

                Sorry, but the only condemnation of homosexuality is aimed at those practising homosexual behaviour.

                So, unless the flower store owner is gay and practising herself, this defense is absolutely baseless.

              • Anon

                Yes, but you holding a gun to my head would be an undeniable threat. Nobody would be able to dispute that you were indeed forcing me to do something because you were holding a gun to my head. The physical presence of you, the gun and the fact you were pointing it at my head would all be things that everybody could see.

                I think the more valid example would be you writing down ‘I will shoot you in the head if you don’t abuse a homosexual’, handing it to me and then walking away. I may believe this is true because I am scared of death or because I’m uncomfortable with homosexuals but I have no way of knowing if you are actually serious and if you’re sitting around on some rooftop with a sniper rifle waiting to shoot me in the head.

                Say I believe you, I go out and I abuse a homosexual. Somebody then asks me why I did it and I produce the note. I can claim all I like that you walked up to me, handed me that note and I thought you were serious, but that still makes me a horrible person.

    • Rain

      “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” –Jesus

      Obviously her bigot god’s bigotry against gays is more important than her bigot god’s bigotry against money, lol. You can bet that if someone says “relationship with Jesus”, then that means they’ve been listening to con artists who never once mention how much Jesus hates money.

  • John Small Berries

    I wonder if she refuses to “do” weddings where one or both of the parties is remarrying after a divorce. Which, according to the Bible, Jesus denounced as adultery, which therefore makes it a violation of the Ten Commandments (and, one would assume, a much bigger transgression than something the Bible never even mentions Jesus talking about).

    • Rain

      Maybe she meant she has a gay relationship with Jesus. That would explain a lot.

      • John Small Berries

        But raises so many more questions.

  • pauleky

    Funny – if Jesus existed and he returned today, I’m guessing Arlene would be among the first smote (smited?). Guessing her gay “friends” don’t consider her a friend.

    • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

      If she had any gay friends previously, she doesn’t anymore…

  • John of Indiana

    Coming soon: The “Arlene’s Flowers Going Out of Business Sale”….

  • Baby_Raptor

    Participate? Is she somehow deluding herself into thinking one of them wants her? Supplying flowers for a wedding is in no way participating in a marriage.

    And I’m really sick of people claiming that definitions don’t apply to them simply because they get butthurt When people call them on their shit. Yes, lady, you’re discriminating. The fact that you don’t like the implications of your actions doesn’t make them any less real. Own your hate. At least then you’re being honest with yourself.

    • Gus Snarp

      Yes, only two people participate in my marriage. Did she somehow think asking her to provide flowers was an invitation to a polyamorous relationship?

    • A

      No, I don’t think she is deluding herself into thinking that. I think she means a part of. Like if I broke down my wedding into parts, the dress was a part (and by extension David’s Bridal), the rings (and Medawar’s Jewelers), and the dinner (the local Chinese buffet) etc. None of those places asked who I was marrying and so could have no bias as to my decision. But she knew that the couple are gay and to her, providing a service as part of a ceremony or celebration she believes is not God’s will, may feel complicit in or supportive of their union. There is a fine line between believing that people can make their own decisions and not being a part of that and seeming to support those decisions you don’t agree with. Like eating, or not, at Chick-fil-a because of the CEO’s comments or donating your clothes, or not, to Goodwill because you saw a “Think Before You Donate” infographic on facebook condemning them for not being charitable or not buying Kashi brands because Kellogg’s donated against labeling GMO’s or not playing a gig at a show because other guests enjoy hunting and you’re vegan.
      I don’t agree with her conclusion or support it, and consequences will follow as shown in the feedback she’s been hearing (I really wish threats of violence would not have shown up!!), but I understand why she made the decision. I should know, I’m LDS and some of my best friends are conservatives.

      • Baby_Raptor

        See, your argument is probably sound for some examples, but this woman has known these men and sent them flowers for each other for years, according to the article.

        So why is it okay for her to “participate” in their relationship, but supplying flowers for their wedding suddenly crosses a line?

        • onamission5

          Because it’s one thing to turn a disapproving but silent (she’s “tolerant,” you see) eye to people when they are merely living in sin, and quite another thing to not totally go bugnuts when they try to take over marriage from Jesus and change it to suit their Satanic perversions.

          Or so people keep telling me. Me, I think people like that are just assholes.

  • Gus Snarp

    I have friends that are gay, that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage.

    So if your gay friends were getting married, would you not want to participate in that marriage either? Because that is not friendship.

    • Stev84

      The only way for her to participate in the marriage would be for the three of them to get married to each other. Even saying that she had to participate in the wedding is something of a stretch.

      • Gus Snarp

        Yes, for the purpose of this comment I’m being generous with her choice of phrasing.

      • baal

        Semantic arguments tend to be week since words have a range of meaning. I think of anyone who does something with a wedding is participating in some way. That would include say an organist playing music or other support roles. Your comment implies only a narrow meaning of ‘participate’ is possible. Regardless of the semantics, it’s clear she’s being bigoted in the name of the lord and that’s risible.

        • Stev84

          At least an organist has to be there at the wedding. All she had to do is provide flowers. She doesn’t necessarily have to deliver them to venue even. Same with those wedding cake bakers. It’s a fucking cake. No one is asking them to be there.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      A friend of mine wanted me to participate (operate a camera) in a gang rape. I explained that preferred not to because I consider rape to be a bad thing. But after reading your comment, I now realize that I wasn’t actually being a friend to him. You’re right: that is not friendship. Thank you for enlightening me.

      • Gus Snarp

        Is that offensive little turd dropping really supposed to be an argument? You really don’t see how refusing to participate in a friend’s wedding* is hardly an expression of friendship and not in any way analogous to your “argument”? Or must I point out that if my friend wanted me to participate in a rape I would end the friendship on the spot, call the police, and never speak to them again?

        Having read some of your other arguments lately I have thought you just enjoyed playing devil’s advocate and were trying to raise real issues that were worth thinking about.

        Now I think you’re a troll.

        *I’m being more precise in my terminology instead of using an exact quote because apparently we’re all terrible pedants.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I didn’t offer an argument. It was clearly a sarcastic application of your friendship standard.

          In simple terms, you included, in the definition of “friendship,” the willingness to participate in an objectionable act. The example I used is irrelevant. It merely needed to be something you would find objectionable. You have the same freedom to restrict your friendship as the rest of us. But I doubt everyone will include the same restrictions.

          • Gus Snarp

            Nevertheless, it’s a false analogy, and a bit of the slippery slope. There are degrees of objectionable, and yes, most friendships do mean accepting some mildly objectionable things, like for me listening to someone say grace or proselytizing funerals, or for the florist, a gay wedding. And yes, it is based on my view of what constitutes reasonable friendship. I thought that was the whole point, that I was expressing my opinion that someone who won’t participate in a wedding is not a friend. But at the same time, I expect that even the florist in question would agree that your analogy is simply not equivalent to a gay wedding. But yes, that’s an assumption, but it’s a fairly reasonable one based on the dominant American culture.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              This is all hypothetical because neither of us know if she has gay friends that would invite her to their wedding.

              The problem isn’t with my analogy. The problem is that you think this woman’s objection to gay marriage doesn’t warrant excluding herself from participating. And why? Because you can’t fathom that her degree of objection to gay marriage could be so much greater than yours (which might be none).

              As I already said, the example I used is irrelevant. I expect that the florist would find gay marriage and gang rape both to be morally objectionable. That’s all that matters.

              • Gus Snarp

                No, it’s really not. You chose the shitty analogy, own it.

                Let’s try this a different way. What I’m saying, pretty clearly, I think, is that if you consider celebrating the central relationship in someone’s life so objectionable that you can’t do it, then you are not friends. That’s it. Yes, you could have a different definition of friendship, but that’s my opinion of friendship, and I think a lot of people would agree with it. I think the word the florist is looking for is “acquaintance”, or maybe: people I’ve managed to interact with without being rude.

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  I’ve made my point, and I think you’ve made yours. Thanks for the exchange.

          • AxeGrrl

            In simple terms, you included, in the definition of “friendship,” the willingness to participate in an objectionable act.

            But you’re missing the fundamental point, being: if you think that your friend marrying the person he/she loves (and is loved by) is an “objectionable act”, then your claim of ‘friendship’ is highly suspect.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              I find the consideration of love to be irrelevant. The perceived sinful nature of homosexuality to a Christian has absolutely nothing to do with whether the homosexuals love their partners.

              • AxeGrrl

                I find the consideration of love to be irrelevant.

                Well, that’s part of what makes your notion of ‘friendship’ to be suspect, imo.

                And the devaluing of love between human beings (which is what your entire post above expresses) is precisely the kind of thing that causes people to dismiss (some) religion as being dehumanizing and potentially destructive.

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  You chose to base the value of a act based on the benefit derived from it. If the Bible included a clause pardoning homosexuality if it was committed by loving partners, then you’d have a point. But the prohibition has no such clause. You added it, and then argued that the benefit from the prohibited act somehow justified it. This is like acknowledging that beating children is prohibited, but then saying that it’s okay if the person beating them enjoys it.

                • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

                  @m6wg4bxw:disqus
                  Excuse me but you added the gang-rape reference. Marriage is not like beating children or gang rape.

                  You should own your mistake. Or double down lol.

                • AxeGrrl

                  You chose to base the value of a act based on the benefit derived from it.

                  As opposed to……..?

                  Serious question.

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  First, pardon my abrupt absence and withdrawal from the discussion yesterday. Power failure interrupted. I returned to find many more opposing comments than I had the patience to respond to.

                  The prohibition by the Christian deity of homosexuality, at least as a Christian might interpret it, is unambiguous and unqualified. It’s a sin, so don’t be gay, and don’t condone it. Period. A person concerned with obeying such a deity can’t afford to act with consideration for the benefits and positive aspects of homosexuality within the context of being an obedient servant of god. The act is categorically prohibited.

                  You and I, however, can afford to have a more nuanced and differing assessment of homosexuality (gay marriage) because we don’t perceive such great risk in doing so. It’s not that I personally discounted something like love. It’s that a zero tolerance policy can’t accommodate it, so it simply isn’t part of the equation.

          • sane37

            marriage is hardly objectionable

          • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

            @m6wg4bxw:disqus
            Your straw-man was gross and dumb. You also failed to include a sarcasm flag in any way. Assuming others will interpret your text the way you wrote it is either naive or intentional on your part.

            You seem to be claiming that Stuzman thinks that marriage is an objectionable act. But she does not. She only thinks gay marriage is objectionable. Using your absurd straw-man, this would be like thinking gang-rape was cool as long as it wasn’t gay gang-rape.

            Failed analogy if I ever saw one.

            Stuzman clearly has a double-standard when it comes to marriage. She hides her bigotry behind the Bible. Dumb, uninformed, whatever. She’s still a bigot.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              Power failure yesterday prevented me from responding. You missed the point(s) I made, and added false assumptions about my position, If you care, we can work through it and continue to discuss this. But I’ve lost interest trying to correct everyone’s misunderstandings for essentially no gain.

          • Baby_Raptor

            There is nothing objectionable about gay marriage. There are people who choose to be bigots, but for something to be considered objectionable it needs to actually *be bad* or *cause damage,* not just squick out some assholes.

            And the example you used is NOT irrelevant. You compared a highly damaging, life altering case of bodily trauma to a marriage. The fact that you’re trying to defend this just shows that you’re either clueless or a Fucking monster.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Are you seriously equating a gang rape and a gay marriage?

        Fuck you.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I didn’t equate the two, seriously or otherwise. Do you still want to fuck me?

      • Marco Conti

        Somehow, I am not surprised your friend like to engage in gang rape. I always suspected it, but now I guess we have the confirmation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Ingersol should sue.
    Unfortunately it is the only way that some discriminations will end, not just for him and his fiancé but also for others who will otherwise be discriminated against in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/GayAtheistLH GayAtheistLeftHanded

    So She Loves Flowers But Hates Pansies?

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      “The pansy is the long-established and enduring symbol of freethought[.]”

  • C Peterson

    Weird how Jesus speaks directly to so many people, and tells them all different, contradictory things.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746759036 Wrich Printz

      Thor tells me I should hit people with a hammer, but sadly, I also enjoy my personal freedom from jail too much to follow Thor’s teachings in all but the most extreme cases.

      • John_in_Vegas

        Can you clarify “most extreme” for me, please? ;)

    • observer

      “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” ~ Susan B. Anthony

      If these people were honest, they’d say that THEY don’t like gay couples, despite what Jesus says.

    • Miss_Beara

      That Jesus. He is such a practical joker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000040895108 Drew Johnson

    http://www.arlenesflowers.net/contact_us.php

    ARLENE’S FLOWERS AND GIFTS

    1177 Lee Blvd

    Richland, WA. 99352

    phone: (509) 946-7676
    toll free: (800) 692-0706
    fax: (509) 946-7670

    • ruth

      I trust no one here will be rude or worse, threatening, to the shop owner. Bad behavior doesn’t change minds.

    • TicklishMeerkat

      If anybody writes the owner of this business to inquire as to why it she thinks it’s perfectly okay to sell gays flowers, hire gays, and associate with gays, but not to sell them flowers for a wedding, I’d be most interested in seeing her foot-devouring act.

  • baal

    “I’ve had people who want to burn my building”<–

    Folks, don't do that. First off, it can be illegal to make threats. Second off, you can express your anger over an act of discrimination with out resorting to terrorizing people. Morality aside, you're handing the offensive person a socially acceptable reason to dismiss and discount your views without dealing with them. Third, any small business will take very seriously a flood of folks merely stating that due to the act of discrimination, you're not going to do business there and you'll be asking your friends to do the same.

    • TicklishMeerkat

      I’ll be straight up honest with you here, Baal. I don’t believe anybody has actually threatened to burn down her building. Christians lie for Jesus so often that when I hear something that far-out, I just can’t give it credence without evidence. She’s just a wee bit too eager to Stand Up For Her Holy Beliefs.

      • Drew M.

        Given some liberals’ comments I’ve read in Huff Po and other left-leaning sites, I have no reason to doubt she received at least one threat of this type.

        You realize that people can be correct on an issue, but still be assholes, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.goodson.9 Bobby Goodson

    So now Christians cannot exercise their conciences in private enterprise? How does this differ from the institutional discrimination that the Christian right imposes against other (and non-) faith groups when pushing their religious agenda in a public forum? They are clearly willing to serve same-sex couples in othe rvenues, but marriage is a matter of religious conviction for them. How is this a situation where their right to exercise their faith is subordinate to someone else’s right to require a particular florist to provide a service? It’s worth noting that I personally support same-sex marriage and have no particular religious outlook saving the sanctity of someone’s Word (as in promises) and the holiness of tolerance for others where their views and actions do no harm.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      I also struggle with drawing lines on this issue. It seems like a reasonable thing to allow a business to withhold service because of personal convictions. But then I consider what it would be like if all business were operated by people with similar personal convictions. Imagine if Ingersoll was denied service everywhere he went. I don’t want to see a world like that.

      • John_in_Vegas

        As atheists, we cannot struggle with drawing lines around religious nonsense. It only encourages more of the same. The hot button political issues of abortion, birth control, and gay rights are debated over religious boundaries. The latest to join the fray is climate change. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/james-inhofe-says-bible-refutes-climate-change

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          It seems you misunderstand. What I was talking about isn’t a religious issue, and I didn’t consider religious boundaries in my thoughts. The issue is the freedom to discriminate.

          • John_in_Vegas

            I agree there is room to debate discrimination from a political perspective (Rand Paul famously got into trouble with Rachel Maddow over that a while back), but if you look further into the ideology, you can usually find a biblical reference or some religious interpretation that motivates it. We need to be vigilant.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Yeah, right. It’s totally reasonable to allow a public business to ignore laws they don’t like.

        Until some Muslim or Atheist refuses to serve a good, moral Christian. Then you and the rest of your side will be howling like monkeys on fire. Because then it won’t be “reasonable,” it’ll be a denial of rights and persecution.

    • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

      The backlash is only anti-Christian because Stutzman explicitly invoked Jesus. The anti-discrimination statutes are not anti-Christian; any such discrimination is illegal regardless of the motivations. Furthermore, it is apparently not a requirement of Christianity that one oppose civil marriage for same-sex partners.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carol.lynn.710 Carol Lynn

      By your logic, any company is just as able to refuse to serve anyone! Do you really want to go there? Would you agree that your reasoning allows this: “Of course, I could not provide flowers for a Jewish wedding, it is my firmly held religious belief that they killed Jesus and I will not be complicit in their sin by serving them!” Is that OK? or “My firmly held religious belief teaches that blacks are inferior and I don’t want them in my store.” A company doesn’t get to approve or disapprove of what their customers do with what they sell as long as it’s legal – and yes, legally a company has to sell whatever they do to everyone who can pay for it.

    • John_in_Vegas

      We already allow Christians to exercise their conscience, including their right to express bigotry, evade taxes and even practice medicine without a license. It’s called a church. Outside of the church, they operate at the pleasure of a secular government and its people and must conform to their laws.

    • AxeGrrl

      So now Christians cannot exercise their conciences in private enterprise?

      From “Answers.com>Wiki Answers>Categories>Law & Legal Issues>State Laws>”:

      ‘In what US states is it legal to refuse service to gays and lesbians?’

      answer:

      ‘These are the 18 states where refusing service to gay people is illegal: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin (also in the District of Columbia).
      (note the bolded state where this story occurred)

      • Claude

        18! There’s some work to be done.

      • Drew M.

        From the lined article to story:

        Despite their differences and the opinions of many, Jill Mullins, of the QLaw Foundation, which is a gay rights attorney organization, said Stuzman did violate the Washington Law Against Discrimination, found in RCW 49.60.030, the Freedom from discrimination – Declaration of civil rights.

        (1) The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. This right shall include, but not be limited to:

        (d) The right to engage in credit transactions without discrimination.

        It might have been more productive to read it than to check answers.com, of all places. ;)

        I also know offhand that both sexual orientation and gender identity have been protected classes in NM since 2003. HRC’s website is a much better resource for these types of questions.

    • Baby_Raptor

      If your “conscience” requires you to discriminate, and your state has a law against such, then no. If you think that the law being more decent than your religion is such an offense, stay in your Fucking church. Out here in the real world, we’re trying to break out of that bullshit.

    • Stev84

      She is running a business, not a church. You can’t allow people to do whatever they want, at any time for any reason just because they come up with some supposedly religious justification. The result would be close to anarchy.

      Freedom of religion only means that she won’t be thrown in jail simply for professing a certain belief. It was never meant to mean freedom of action. But in a civil society there need to be limits how people can express their religion. And those limits come into play when they interact with other people who don’t always share their beliefs.

    • TicklishMeerkat

      It’s illegal to discriminate against various groups. The court cases that decided this were quite clear as to why they felt the law has a pressing interest in ensuring that the business world remains fair and free of bigotry and discrimination. Just as we rightfully recoil against a diner that has separate entrances and seating for black and white customers, we rightfully recoil against a florist who has chosen not to serve an entire demographic because her holy book and pastor have said that demographic is especially harmful and deserving of shame.

  • Kayla

    What rights does a business owner have when it comes to refusing customers? Like, if I had a catering company, I wouldn’t be comfortable at all servicing a KKK group’s dinner event. Granted, I see a big difference between this story and the KKK – a gay couple isn’t seeking to harm anyone – but it’d still be a case of a business refusing a customer service.

    • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

      A business owner may discriminate (refuse service, etc.) against any individual provided the person discriminating does not do so based on characteristics explicitly mentioned in the federal or state anti-discrimination statutes. Incidentally, federal law does not include sexual orientation/identity as a protected class, although Washington state law apparently does.

    • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

      Political affiliation, such as the KKK, is not protected under non-discrimination laws. Federal law protects against a lot of discrimination on religion, sex, and race; sexual orientation is included in several state laws, including Washington’s.

  • Marco Conti

    I find it hilarious that a Flower store would go out of their way to alienate the entire gay community. From a business standpoint is just plain suicidal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angus.bohanon Angus Bohanon

    “I’m sorry, Rob, you know I’d love to. But Jesus and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch recently and he’s being really bitchy about the whole thing, so I think it’s best if I just keep my distance. You know how he is about the gays.”

  • Spamamander

    So effing proud of my hometown cities.(I’m originally from Kennewick, part of the “Tri-Cities” of Washington… Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) People think of Washington as this wonderful blue state, and it IS awesome we’ve passed gay marriage, death with dignity, and pot legalization laws. The problem is, 3/4 of the state is a conservative hellhole. The Puget Sound area thankfully out-votes this area.

  • jeebus

    There is no god… accept it and let’s all be kind to each other.

  • kaydenpat

    “The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage,”

    How is selling something to customers participating in their marriage?

    I don’t understand how she was selling them flowers for years but can no longer do so just because they are now getting married.

  • TicklishMeerkat

    She was happy to sell these gentlemen flowers as long as they didn’t try to get above their station and think they were regular normal good people. How dare they think they could just.. just.. GET MARRIED like normal people! Oh, it’s just fine if they want to send each other bouquets for years, she’ll sell them those, because that’s something even criminals can do, but.. but.. GETTING MARRIED? No, she draws the line there. Jesus told her it’s okay to sell gays flowers unless they were going to use them to get married.

    Can’t let them gays get uppity, you see. Got to watch them like hawks, or they might start getting ideeeers.

    But it’s all totally okay because some of her best friends are gay. See? Here’s her “get out of bigotry free” card!

  • Carmelita Spats

    Why do they pick on gay couples when Jeebus said NOTHING about homosexuality in ANY of the Gospels yet he had quite a bit to say about divorce and remarriage. Jesus equated remarriage with ADULTERY and the penalty for adultery was DEATH…
    “Jesus replied, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8).

    Paul states that divorced women need to remain SINGLE: ” To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should
    not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or
    else be reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not
    divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

    So her relationship with Jeebus must also prevent her from opening up her business to ANY and ALL remarriages. Yes? Christian hypocrisy at its finest. It’s insufferable.

  • Rwlawoffice

    These comments are so typical of those that call for tolerance but fail to show it themselves. This woman is clearly not a bigot yet that is what she is immediately called for your opinions on same sex marriage and whether she wants to use her artistic talents to promote it. The article clearly states that she has served the homosexual community for years, she has not discriminated in her hiring or her service. Now that she stands up for her religious beliefs she is hated, threatened with violence and subject to suit.

    Her religious liberties and constitutional right to hold them are being threatened and those that supposedly stand for freedom and tolerance are leading the fight to take them from her. i recall years ago on this site atheists who would say, ” I disagree with your opinions but I will stand next to you fighting for your right to have them”. That is long gone on this issue.

    I also recall the outcry against those Christians who very wrongfully threatened and showed hate to Jessica Ahlquist for standing up for her beliefs. These Christians were decried for being intolerant and showing hate. Yet here, on this issue, the intolerance and hate towards this woman is not only accepted but encouraged and applauded.

    The double standard and hypocrisy is incredible but predicable. She is standing up for he constitutional rights and her religious beliefs for for that she is immediately hated. Let me pose you question. Suppose an atheist ran a flower shop, was asked to make an arrangement for a first communion for a child an refused because of his/her belief that this was wrong and harmful indoctrination of children into the Catholic church. Would you immediately call that florist a bigot, fail to criticize calls for the shop to be burned down and encourage that the florist be sued?I suspect not, because you agree with that florists position.

    • Drew M.

      “Suppose an atheist ran a flower shop, was asked to make an arrangement for a first communion for a child an refused because of his/her belief that this was wrong and harmful indoctrination of children into the Catholic church. Would you immediately call that florist a bigot, fail to criticize calls for the shop to be burned down and encourage that the florist be sued?

      Yes (I’d probably call him/her an asshole too), no (Physical threats are always wrong when you have no god to absolve you), and yes (To ensure that he/she follows equal protection, as in the case of Jessica Ahlquist, who IIRC, asked for $20 in damages).

      It’s pretty pathetic that in your mind, one example is okay while the other is not; they are both wrong. Hypocrite, heal thyself.


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