Florist may lose her business, home and savings for refusing to service gay wedding

I remember reading a blog post by very well known atheist from Washington just after his state legalized same-sex marriage. He said he was very proud of his state. Now we get to find out what he was so proud of.

The story is reported by Alliance Defending Freedom.

They write:

A state judge has determined that the government can force a floral designer to do custom design work and provide wedding support services even if she has a religious conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman. Barronelle Stutzman was found guilty for referring her friend and long-time customer to another florist because the customer wanted her to design floral arrangements and provide services for a  same-sex wedding. Barronelle’s referral ensured the customer received the services he wanted, but has been labeled “discrimination” under Washington law.

The court also ruled that both the state and the couple may collect damages and attorneys’ fees not only from the floral shop, but also from Stutzman personally.

The court said:

“On the evening of November 5, 2012, there was no conflict … The following evening, after the … enactment of same-sex marriage, there would eventually be a direct and insoluble conflict between Stutzman’s religiously motivated conduct and the laws of the State of Washington. Stutzman cannot comply with both the law and her faith if she continues to provide flowers for weddings as part of her duly-licensed business, Arlene’s Flowers.

For simply abiding by her faith and a view of marriage held sacred for centuries, the 70-year-old grandmother not only may lose her business, but also her home and savings. Contrast this reality to the same-sex couple, who not only obtained exactly what they needed for their ceremony, but were offered free flowers and wedding services by a multitude of florists. Yet the state attorney general sued her and then the couple, represented by the ACLU, filed a second lawsuit.

Barronelle’s referral showed kindness and tolerance to her customer, doing as much as she could without violating her conscience.  But apparently there is no tolerance for her religious beliefs about marriage.

“America would be a better place if citizens respected each others’ differences and the government still protected the freedom to have those differences,” said Barronelle. “Instead, the government is coming after me and everything I have just because my beliefs are different from the government’s. I just want the freedom to live and work faithfully and to believe what God says about marriage without fear of punishment, just as others have the freedom to believe and say what they want to about marriage.”

“The message of these rulings is unmistakable: there is no tolerance for those who disagree with the state’s view of marriage,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued before the court in December. “The couple had no problem getting the flowers they needed. In fact, they received several offers for free flowers. So, where’s the tolerance for Barronelle Stutzman? It’s hard to believe that Barronelle should prepare to have everything she has earned and built seized by the state just because of her beliefs about marriage.”

If you don’t celebrate same-sex marriage, then the courts will come after you and take everything you have to make you celebrate same-sex marriage. This is called tolerance. And it is sold to the public with the well-known gay rights motto “Celebrate Diversity”.

There is nothing in the atheistic worldview that has a problem when Christians have their consciences violated by government coercion. This is the atheist thing – using power to force others to tell them that their man-made hedonistic moralities are actually valid and true. They are really comfortable with government forcing religious individuals to violate their consciences. And forcing them to do a lot more, too. This is just the beginning. When you believe that morality is make-believe that varies by time or place, instead of something objective built into the universe by its Creator and Designer, then anything is possible. Anything is possible. Far from being an unexpected diversion from atheism, this is atheism put into practice. Might makes right. Survival of the fittest. There is no place for a “human right” to free speech in an accidental, materialistic universe.

To end this post on a happy note, I’m going to post a picture of Kristen Waggoner, and her bio, just to remind us who the hero of the story was.

Here she is:

Kristen Waggoner, Alliance Defending Freedom
Kristen Waggoner, Alliance Defending Freedom

Her bio:

Kristen K. Waggoner serves as senior vice president of legal services with Alliance Defending Freedom, leading the organization’s legal advocacy efforts. She is a Martindale-Hubbell AV peer-review rated attorney who clerked for Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court after law school and served in private practice in Seattle for nearly 20 years. Waggoner is admitted to the state bars in Washington, Florida, and Oregon. She is also admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st and 9th Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington.

It takes a lot to make one Kristen Waggoner – her parents must be proud of her. She tried her best, and it was good for us that she tried. There’s always the appeal. But even if we win that, the point was made – if you’re a Christian, then you’d better act like an atheist in public. Or else. You have to have their “morality” such as it is forced on you. Or else. We have been intimidated. To think that this happened in a country that was founded by theists, many of them Christians. It makes me sad.

There was a good episode of the Alliance Defending Freedom podcast on this story, which you can download the MP3 file here.

27 thoughts on “Florist may lose her business, home and savings for refusing to service gay wedding”

  1. I don’t know why these Christian florists and bakers don’t quote the job at 3 to 4 times the regular price. They don’t have to defend their pricing policy. And they could even suggest to the happy couple that the proceeds from the flowers at their “ceremony” will be donated to the Family Research Council. ;)

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  2. I thought business were not allowed to deny service based on discrimination? So can a business owner also deny service if they don’t believe allah is god and deny muslims services? I mean it falls into her belief that God is the only god.

    Can a business based on his or her belief also deny service to a particular race ?

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    1. Child, read the story a bit more closely: she did NOT deny services. The customer was a long time friend and customer of hers. She denied participating in the same sex “wedding.” It’s not that she was just going to sell flowers to these folks: she had to deliver them and arrange them AT the “wedding.”

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        1. It’s participation. OK if I force you to participate in my Christmas pageant by sewing the costumes if you are a seamstress?

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          1. “Barronelle Stutzman was found guilty for referring her friend and long-time customer to another florist because the customer wanted her to design floral arrangements and provide services for a same-sex wedding. ”

            It states right here that it was to design floral arrangements and provide services for the wedding. To provide services -services

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          2. Awesome! So, I take that as a “yes.” I can force you to participate in our Christmas pageant. We will need you at our church to size up all of the little Christian kids and to help us pick out the costumes. It shouldn’t be too many hours and you will get paid for it of course. Looking forward to seeing you at the church!

            Oh, and if you don’t come, you are discriminating against us, and we will bring the power of the state down on you to financially ruin you. Seems fair, huh?

            Liked by 1 person

          3. What services at florist provides for a wedding:

            Provide the wedding party with all its floral needs, including consultation, design, delivery, setup and breakdown of floral bouquets and arrangements at the event.

            So that means as a florist she would have to be there at the wedding to arrange the flowers

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    2. “Can a business based on his or her belief also deny service to a particular race ?”

      Sounds like quite the straw man, ChildofRa. None of these business owners are denying service based on someone’s individual traits. Plenty of them serve birthday cakes or flowers to people whose worldview or parts of said worldview they fundamentally disagree with.

      They are denying service for particular types of events that they cannot, in good conscience, support because they believe that offering a service for that event would equate to them supporting the idea behind the event itself (e.g., homosexual marriage is a good thing to be celebrated).

      Whether one takes that reason for denying service as valid, one must get the proper distinctions correct before attempting to defend either side of the argument.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. ChildofRa – a group of men are going on a hunting trip. They decide to hire a photographer to document their trip and (hopefully) bucks killed. The guys find Chris, an outstanding local wildlife photographer, business owner and who also happens to be a member of PETA. Chris declines the business because he doesn’t believe in humans killing animals for sport and does not want to participate in such event.

      What should happen next?

      A) The men should sue Chris for discrimination
      B) The men should respect his beliefs and find another photographer
      C) Chris should apologize, set his personal beliefs aside and take their hunting trip photos
      D) …

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      1. C. My mom is a nurse,she does home health & one of her patients is a racist while the other is male and likes to grab her butt; my mom doesn’t drop her patients

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  3. Okay providing flowers and arranging them are part of the services and she deny those services which under the civil rights act of 1964 a business whether public or private by law is not suppose to do.

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    1. You’re not comprehending. Do you think it’s ok for this woman to lose her entire livelihood over this? Really? Better be careful how you respond because the day will come when Gays will have to forfeit all they have when the moral whims inevitably shift.

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      1. I don’t think she should have lost her entire business. She should have gotten a fine that would be all.

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        1. Would that fine be based on the whim of the court or the actual damages? In this case there were no damages except to Stutzman. This is a clear case of passing a law supposedly to provide fair treatment of individuals and then using it to produce unfair treatment.

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        2. So you think declining to provide a service that you find morally objectionable should be penalized by a fine?

          Would you require a restaurant owned by a vegan to serve meat? Would you require a gay bakery owner to make a cake that says “Gays are going to hell?” If these people declined, should they be fined? Is there any room for personal convictions in the realm of business? Can anyone ever decline service for reasons of conscience? Or is it just Christians who don’t have a right to conduct business according to their beliefs?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well this what I have been reading

            What is a Public Accommodation?

            Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against certain protected groups in businesses and places that are considered “public accommodations.” The definition of a “public accommodation” may vary depending upon the law at issue (i.e. federal or state), and the type of discrimination involved (i.e. race discrimination or disability discrimination). Generally speaking, it may help to think of public accommodations as most (but not all) businesses or buildings that are open to (or offer services to) the general public. More specifically, the definition of a “public accommodation” can be broken down into two types of businesses / facilities:

            Government-owned/operated facilities, services, and buildings
            Privately-owned/operated businesses, services, and buildings
            Government-owned/operated facilities and services. Government-owned facilities include courthouses, jails, hospitals, parks, and other places owned and operated by federal, state and local government. Government-operated services, programs, or activities provided by federal, state, or local governments include transportation systems and government benefits programs (such as welfare assistance).

            Privately-owned/operated businesses and buildings. Privately-owned businesses and facilities that offer certain goods or services to the public — including food, lodging, gasoline, and entertainment — are considered public accommodations for purposes of federal and state anti-discrimination laws. For purposes of disability discrimination, the definition of a “public accommodation” is even more broad, encompassing most businesses that are open to the public (regardless of type).

            Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Public Accommodations: Race, Color, Religion, and National Origin

            Federal law prohibits public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. If you think that you have been discriminated against in using such a facility, you may file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, or with the United States attorney in your area. You may also file suit in the U.S. district court.

            There are also state laws that broadly prohibit discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, and national origin in places of public accommodation. To determine whether your state has such a law, you should contact your state or local human rights agency, your state attorney general’s office, or speak to a Civil Rights attorney in your area.

            Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Public Accommodations and Disability Discrimination

            At the federal level, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in a wide range of places of public accommodation, including facilities that offer lodging, food, entertainment, sales or rental services, health care and other professional services, or recreation. State and local governments must eliminate any eligibility criteria for participation in programs, activities, and services that screen out or tend to screen out persons with disabilities, unless the government can establish that the requirements are necessary for the provision of the service, program, or activity. In addition, public facilities must ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs, or activities because buildings are inaccessible.

            There are also state laws that broadly prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation. To determine whether your state has such a law, you should contact your state or local human rights agency, your state attorney general’s office, or speak to a Civil Rights attorney in your area.

            – See more at: http://civilrights.findlaw.com/enforcing-your-civil-rights/discrimination-in-public-accommodations.html#.dpuf

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          2. I know that when serving people or hiring them one is not suppose to discriminate another human being based on race,color,sex,national origin,religion,sexual orientation and disability ( I think I’m missing one)

            So is everyone allowed their belief and opinion ,yes they are allowed to have them but its not suppose to interfere with your place of employment. I’m against a lot of things but I don’t let it affect my job especially when I plan on being a nurse. I will be working with all kinds of people should I deny service because my patient is a murder or rapist – no I do not. I’m providing this people a service whether I like them or not , because that is irrelevant when I am a nurse. I am trained to help people- keyword PEOPLE

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          3. “I know that when serving people or hiring them one is not suppose to discriminate another human being based on race,color,sex,national origin,religion,sexual orientation and disability ( I think I’m missing one).”

            There is a huge difference between not serving SOMEONE because of who they are and not performing a particular SERVICE that contradicts your beliefs. This woman wasn’t refusing service to a homosexual. In fact, this person was a “friend and long-time customer.” So, apparently, she does provide services to homosexuals. The identity of the person was not at issue here. What she doesn’t provide is a particular kind of service that disagrees with her beliefs – services for a same-sex wedding.

            So, for example, if I have a printing business, I should serve everyone – black, white, gay, straight, male, female, etc. But if someone, who happens to be black, brings pornographic pictures to me to be printed, I can decline to offer printing for that material because it violates my beliefs. The fact that the person asking for the porn to be printed is black is irrelevant because I’m not declining based on who the person is. I’m declining based on the nature of the service they’re asking me to perform.

            It’s the same in this case of a florist refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage. It has nothing to do with the identity of the customer and everything to do with the nature of the service she is being asked to provide. It’s not that she doesn’t serve homosexuals. She does. She just doesn’t provide flowers for same-sex weddings because that violates her beliefs.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. This is persecution for one’s beliefs. The accusers may not have gone as far as whipping, stoning, and beheading, but the florist is being hounded and “taken to the cleaners” simply because she upholds the Biblical view of marriage. Psalm 37.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the Psalm 37 reference – I needed that! I shall have to read that one each morning. (Verse 13 is my fave, BTW. :-))

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  5. 1- This person, despite reports, was obviously not a friend.

    2- not being American, I am surprised that there did not have to be a demonstration of actual loss on the side of the plaintiff.

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  6. “Barronelle Stutzman was found guilty for referring her friend and long-time customer to another florist ” Some friend!

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    1. I know. That’s why I have an alias. There are gay people around me where I work and such, and I try to treat them as nicely as I can, which is pretty nice. But I would never dream of telling them who I really am or what I really believe. There is something about sin that causes people to go crazy and try to force everyone else to affirm it. It’s too scary for me, and that’s why I have an alias.

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      1. Me too, WK: it’s not just gay extremists, it’s also Obama-worshippers, extremists by definition. I made the mistake of posting under my own name on fb right before the 2012 election. I mentioned that we were in the midst of a 50 year poverty rate record. An obama-worshipper called me a racist (of course!), and offered to “look me up” if Obama was not elected. To which I ask, who says that there was NOTHING good about Obama being re-elected?!? :-)

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