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  KARMA'S A BITCH

Washington Florist Refusing Service To Gays Faces Lawsuit From Attorney General

r-FLORIST-REFUSES-GAY-WEDDING-huge-e1362695475255The owner of a local floral shop in Richland, Washington that refused service to a gay couple last month may have thought “hugging” her clients was “the end of the story,” but everything isn’t coming up roses for state attorney general Bob Ferguson, who filed suit against her yesterday morning.

Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, declined the opportunity to make floral arrangements for a loyal customer’s gay wedding in early March, believing it would tarnish her “relationship with Jesus Christ.” Apparently Jesus didn’t mind her creating bouquets and sending love notes on their behalf for the past nine years—she claims same-sex marriage is a different monster entirely.

“Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation,” Ferguson said in a statement to the press. “If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service.”

KWKT reports that, on March 28, Stutzman was asked to reconsider her position in a letter from Ferguson (as if the gay customers would even want to return), and was reminded that her business had failed to comply with Washington state laws. Stutzman’s attorney responded on Monday, claiming that they’re prepared to challenge the state at any cost.

And surprisingly, the old biddy is putting her money where her mouth is. She claims that making floral arrangements for a wedding “is a creative process [that] takes artistic talent. All artists consider what they do to be an expression.”

Furthermore, Stutzman and her attorney are now claiming that her floral shop is a beacon of freedom-of-expression, and the government is attempting to infringe on her “right to free religious exercise” by forcing her to lend her craft to a ceremony she doesn’t agree with.

This old biddy seems to be forgetting that some of the world’s greatest artists didn’t answer to authority because they weren’t running a profitable business under state and federal laws. Artist or not, the “open” sign hanging in her front window should legally welcome all potential customers, not just the ones she thinks are worthy of enjoying her art.

By:           Matthew Tharrett
On:           Apr 10, 2013
Tagged: , , ,

  • 29 Comments
    • erikwm
      erikwm

      I clicked on the story just to find out if the person in the picture was a man or a woman.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • trelin
      trelin

      We gays should be classy citizens. If she wants to be a bigoted narrow-minded fool, let her. We should simply say “Thank you anyway…” and walk on. No need to go to the authorities over it. This only makes them more-likely to discriminate more, and us look like tattle-tales (sorry, I’m a teacher). Let us be the bigger and better community.

      We’re smart enough to know when we’re not wanted…so instead of pursuing legal action or making her pay-up for what she believes in, let her go and bathe in her callous ignorance. We shall take our large expendable-income elsewhere. She can hang out with her dying carnations.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TinoTurner
      TinoTurner

      I don’t know about all this publicity we give florists, bakers, small business owners. What we’re essentially doing is raising them to be heros for the anti-gay community. Because of this ladys stubbornness, she’d not a martyr for the bible bangers. Why not ignore these mutants and support small businesses that want our business.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dionte
      Dionte

      I don’t think anyone should be made to service anyone that they don’t want to. But they should be required to put a sign on their door listing the people they discrimate against, that way you don’t have to go inside to begin with.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TinoTurner
      TinoTurner

      @trelin: I’m a small biz owner and I had a booth setup at a Philly Pride event. A huge group of religous lunatics came to protest and ended up getting arrested. I think they spent the night in jail and then the judge quickly let them go and refused to prosecute. His answer was basically that if he prosecuted them, they’d be heros in their community and that the big bad homos had sent these bible-bangers to jail. The judge thought it would be best to ignore these fools and I agree. We can’t for EVERYONE in the world to love us….why not elevate those who do instead of wasting so much energy and money on those who don’t?

      Apr 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Texasteacher
      Texasteacher

      It wasn’t the customer who filed suit, it was the state attorney general, Bob Ferguson. He learned about the issue and filed suit despite the customer’s wishes to let it go. I know a Southern Baptist who’s religious beliefs state that interracial marriage is wrong. She can have her beliefs, but if she were to run a flower shop, she couldn’t refuse to supply flowers for an interracial wedding based on her personal religious beliefs. “Public accommodation” refers to businesses which accommodate the public. When one opens a business that accommodates the public, one has to obey the statutes of the state under which that business operates. Oregon doesn’t permit one to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation applies here, because she didn’t want to supply flowers for a same-sex wedding. Too many people think that their opinions matter in others’ private lives. She’s not marrying the couple, she’s supplying flowers. It’s fine to practice a religion, but not on other people.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thomas
      Thomas

      She really messed up this one. Washington legalized same-sex marriage so she is discriminating. She should have just said “sorry, I’m too busy and I can’t do it.” But no, she had to open her big mouth and claim Jesus wouldn’t want her to do it.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo
      2eo

      Funny how all the whining about appeasement doesn’t seem to fly with those in power. Thankfully, I’d like to think I played a small part in bringing her unacceptable business practices into the public domain.

      Makes me feel all warm inside.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ottoman
      Ottoman

      If we let things like this slide, the line between religion and business blurs, enabling religion to creep further and further into our daily lives. Which is exactly what the fundies want. Good thing the state is on top of it and taking action against this idiot.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AEH
      AEH

      @trelin: You have no idea how happy I am to hear that! Sometimes it seems like so many people would rather be the victim than the bigger person.

      Seriously, people. What’s next, capital punishment for those who turn our business away?

      Just move on! Take your business elsewhere and watch the bigots lose some of their regular customers. Why should we use the laws to bully people into accepting our money when there are plenty of other better stores?

      Apr 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sohobod
      Sohobod

      @AEH
      Oh please…. stop being such a Lib. I hope she loses her shop – her husband and children disown her – her church expel her, her dog piss all over her and she end up living in a damp cardboard box.
      Serve the bitch right.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra
      MK Ultra

      I want to understood the mindset of the commentors here; so discrimination is 100% wrong under the law, except for sometimes when it’s not.
      And the law is the law, except if you have “deeply held religious beliefs”, which entitle you to break the law.
      We’re as wishy washy as Romney during the election.
      Sometimes we’re against bigots breaking the law in order to harm us, sometimes we roll over and say “walk all over me”.
      The line between the two is abstract and superfulous.
      That just tells bigots to keep pushing because eventually we’ll give up another hard fought for piece of equality.
      Pick a position and stay with it. We’re not bullying anyone. We’re actually doing them a favor: giving them an education on how the real world works; commerce, the legal system. In the real world, apealing to religious power doesn,t trump breaking the law.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdx3fan
      tdx3fan

      @MK Ultra: Not break the law, but possibly to ignore it. The United States Constitution demands that all people be treated equally, but it also demands that people have freedom of religion. If you have a deeply held religious belief that is part of a major religion then it is a very grey area. That is what courts are supposed to do… turn the grey areas black and white with precedents.

      It is truly tragic that this woman feels the need to discriminate, and it really does need to go to court, but I do not believe she should be forced to violate her religious beliefs anymore than I believe that a gay person should be forced to sell to the WBC.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Will L
      Will L

      @Texasteacher: I agree with your statement here. As Thomas stated, she could have said she had too many orders to do and simply couldn’t take on a wedding right now. Had she done that, I’d have simply walked away and never been back. But she didn’t. She made a big deal of her relationship with Jesus and WHY she would not provide flowers. Since the Attorney General is willing to file suit, I say hammer her ass.

      Apr 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • samwise343
      samwise343

      @trelin: Her first amendment defense is interesting. You know, if she wins, what would stop her from hanging a sign in the window saying “Gays not welcome.” That would be covered under her first amendment rights, no? And how would you feel if you saw that sign? That you, with your hard earned cash, could not her enter her public establishment and order flowers for your same sex wedding.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 12:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ecllips
      ecllips

      @Sohobod: Wow, the fact that you can come up with such disgusting ideas shows that there are many issues with you. I wish you the best of luck on the road to recovery. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean you should say such vile things. No one likes to watch a kid have a tempter tantrum. At first I didn’t like her…but now your comments are making me lean more towards hers side(still don’t like what she did though), heck I would be on any other side as long as it didn’t have you.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 12:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ecllips
      ecllips

      @erikwm: LOL! I wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman either till I read the story. And what she is wearing made me think of a prison jump suit like you see on TV. So from the picture I thought this person was arrested.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 12:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DOFEK
      DOFEK

      What ever it is man, or a woman it`s fucking Christian, and Christianity is a mental disorder (mentally ill) like most white American. AdamHomo

      Apr 11, 2013 at 9:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdx3fan
      tdx3fan

      @samwise343: I would GLADLY take a sign that reads, “Gays not Welcome!” I would take that over some bigoted bitch that will take our money to her bigoted church and put it in the offering plate every Sunday. If you do not support us, I do not wish to give you my money.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tdx3fan
      tdx3fan

      @ecllips: If he managed to hit a nerve then he proved his point right… bleeding heart liberal.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 9:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Blah Blah Blah….same old shit different day. Look, she applied for public license, she uses public services for her business paid for by the taxes of gays, she has to abide by public laws.

      She isn’t religious, she is just a bigot. If she was religious she would refuse to sell flowers to divorced people or women who were unmarried and not virgins.

      Just another bigot lying and using religion as an excuse.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Spike
      Spike

      Gays using a str8t florist? There has got to be something in the bible that warns against this, I mean a str8t florist? That’s just wrong.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ecllips
      ecllips

      @tdx3fan: Point? He(and I use the term loosely) didn’t have a point. He only wrote a few uncivilized rants that had no meaning, besides showing that he probably didn’t graduate high school and he has a warped and twisted mind. As to the phrase you used “Bleeding heart lib” It is hilarious all the terms and categories people come up with. I find it as amusing as when I am out at the bar with friends and hear people use words such as Twink, Bear and Otter to categorize gay men. If being a kind and decent human being puts me in your definition of a “Bleeding heart lib” Then I am fine with that, although technically I am not one. Now, with that said I do not approve of what this lady did nor her reasoning behind it. I think she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I also wish I could set up a competing flower shop across from her with a sign stating that everyone is welcome, and yes I would even sell to the bigot Sohobod who my original comment was written to. Heck, Maybe I would even feel bad enough for him to give him a job delivering flowers since he clearly needs help.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @tdx3fan: You are simply wrong. This is not a “very gray area.” It is well-established law that the first amendment only applies to religious activities. This is not a religious activity. If the Catholic Church runs a hospital or social service agency, it cannot violate the anti-discrimination laws in those businesses. This outrageous conduct is no different than a pharmacist or doctor refusing to provide birth control or perform a medical procedure because it violates their religious beliefs. You also fail to understand that it was the attorney general who brought this action on behalf of the state.

      I am dismayed that allegedly gay and lesbian folks here do not appreciate the reason for anti-discrimination laws and their appropriate application.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @ecllips: You talk about tantruming? Know thyself. You are engaging in aworse form of tantrum: I am going to side with a bigot because of how mean you are, regardless of the morla and legal issues at play. And the pathetic thing, is that you won’t even understand the parallel.

      Apr 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @tdx3fan: So you would not be troubled by signs saying, No Blacks Allowed? If you really think it is acceptable for public accommodations to openly discriminate, you are 60 years behind the times and are ignorant of history. You do not understand why anti-discrimination laws exist in the first place. How would you feel if you were not able to find a hotel room during a trip because none of the businesses are willing to serve gay and lesbian people?

      Apr 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ecllips
      ecllips

      @jar: Obviously you did not read the second half of what I wrote. Unless you take the time to read everything and then jump in and add your INFORMED two cents, do not get involved. As I said earlier if you would read, that she should be prosecuted. It is because of people like you who only read/hear what you want to and then try preaching from a soapbox that have made issues worse throughout history. So sad.

      Apr 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jar
      jar

      @ecllips: What second half? The statement to which I replied most directly is the last statement in the post. And you feign high dudgeon at my reading of your post? Furthermore, I was not preaching from a soap box. I was merely commenting on the fact that you are just as guilty of throwing a tantrum as the poster you accused of same. Just curious, is your historical claim a reference to uppity blacks who demanded to be served at lunch counters and other public amenities? It sounds so.

      Apr 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ecllips
      ecllips

      @jar: Wow, so you can’t even find a post? well here I will copy and paste it for you

      No. 23 · ecllips

      @tdx3fan: Point? He(and I use the term loosely) didn’t have a point. He only wrote a few uncivilized rants that had no meaning, besides showing that he probably didn’t graduate high school and he has a warped and twisted mind. As to the phrase you used “Bleeding heart lib” It is hilarious all the terms and categories people come up with. I find it as amusing as when I am out at the bar with friends and hear people use words such as Twink, Bear and Otter to categorize gay men. If being a kind and decent human being puts me in your definition of a “Bleeding heart lib” Then I am fine with that, although technically I am not one. Now, with that said I do not approve of what this lady did nor her reasoning behind it. I think she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I also wish I could set up a competing flower shop across from her with a sign stating that everyone is welcome, and yes I would even sell to the bigot Sohobod who my original comment was written to. Heck, Maybe I would even feel bad enough for him to give him a job delivering flowers since he clearly needs help.
      Apr 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment · Flag

      Apr 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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