A gay couple from Richland, Washington was shocked when the florist with whom they have been doing business for nearly a decade refused to supply flowers to their September wedding, thanks to her relationship with Jesus.
When Rob Ingersoll got engaged to his partner Curt, they turned to Barronelle Stutzman of Arelene’s Flowers where they’ve been tip-toeing through the tulips for the past nine years. Ingersoll had sent bouquets to Curt with cards reading, “Love, Rob” so it was a surprise to him when Stutzman, citing her religious beliefs, 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,” Stutzman told NBC affiliate, KNDU.
Stutzman was in turn surprised when Ingersoll posted about his experience with Arelene’s on Facebook and the post went viral. “We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed that was the end of the story,” she said. She soon found herself the recipient of threats to burn down her shop, as well as congratulations for standing up for what she believes.
What she believes, however, may have little consequence as Stutzman’s refusal to serve Ingersoll violates Washington’s anti-discrimination laws. Now the groom-to-be is unsure what steps he will take in the future, though he has been contacted by several attorneys, including the ACLU.
As for Stutzman, she maintians that she’s not homophobic, she simply subscribes to the notion of traditional marriage: one man, one woman.
“We hire gay people. I have friends that are gay, that wasn’t the issue,” she told KNDU. “The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage.”
Well, of course she hires gay people, who does she think is going to work in a floral shop? Meanwhile, this floral fiasco is the latest nuptial no-no to befall a gay couple after a baker in Oregon denied a cake to a pair of lesbian brides and a reception hall in Texas refused to host a same-sex wedding.
In both cases, as with Arlene’s Flowers, religion was the raison d’hate-tre.