State of Washington suing florist on behalf of gay nazis

by 1389 on April 11, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), same-sex 'marriage' / LGBT agenda

Weren’t there any homosexual florists in Washington State who could have done their “wedding”?

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Published on Apr 10, 2013 by SDAMatt2a

Dear Gays *and* politicians: this is why people hate you. You’re welcome!
(Modification of the Kathy Shiadle saying)
The State of Washington is suing a small flower shop after the owner declined to provide flowers for a homosexual wedding — based on her religious beliefs.

Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., is facing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties for allegedly violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

“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,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.

On March 1, a longtime customer asked Stutzman to provide flowers for his upcoming same-sex wedding. According to court documents, she told him that she would not be able to do so “because of her relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The Attorney General’s office sent a letter to the florist on March 28 giving her a chance to reconsider her position and sign an agreement indicating her intention to comply with the law. But Stutzman refused.

“Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation,” the attorney general said.

In their letter to Stutzman, they told her the only way to avoid a lawsuit was to agree to provide services for homosexual weddings.

“This means that as a seller of goods or services, you will not refuse to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if you sell floral arrangements for opposite-sex weddings,” the attorney general’s office wrote.

Attorney JD Bristol called the notion that his client was guilty of discrimination “nonsense.”

“Arlene’s Flowers has catered to all patrons, including homosexuals, for many years,” Bristol wrote in his reply to the Attorney General. “Arlene’s Flowers has had openly gay employees.”

He told The Seattle Times that he believes the state is trying to make an example of the flower shop.

“This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay,” he told the newspaper. “She has a conscientious objection to homosexual marriage, not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”

Bristol said he believes this is a freedom of religion issue.

“What the government is saying here is that you don’t have the right to free religious exercise,” he told the newspaper.

Religious liberty groups in Washington and across the country are voicing their support for the flower shop.

“You may not be a florist, and you may have made a different decision, but liberty is at stake for all of us,” said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. “Draw your line in the sand right here.”

Backholm sent an email blast urging supporters to stand with Arlene’s Flowers.

“Don’t ignore the bully just because he hasn’t punched you in the mouth yet,” he said. “A small business owner is looking at years of litigation and huge legal expenses because she won’t bow to the political elites.”

Peter Sprigg, with the Family Research Council, told Fox News they are seeing more and more of these types of cases.

“People need to be aware this is the underlying motive for the push for same sex marriage,” he said. “It’s not just about legal rights and benefits. It’s about forcing everyone in society to recognize their relationships as being one hundred percent equal to opposite sex marriages.”

He called the lawsuit a dangerous step towards encroaching on religious liberty.

“It also reflects a narrow view of religious liberty where people may have freedom to exercise religious liberty in their church but they don’t have that right when they go outside those four walls,” he said.

The Attorney General is seeking a permanent injunction forcing the flower shop to comply with the law — as well as $2,000 in fines for every violation.

Conservative group comes to aid of florist sued over ‘gay wedding’

By Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, WA) April 11, 2013 12:27 pm

Supporters and critics of a Richland florist’s decision to not provide flowers for a same-sex wedding are jumping into her legal fray with the Washington Attorney General’s Office. A conservative family values organization, the Family Policy Institute of Washington, is asking people if they are interested in supporting a challenge by Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, to a consumer protection lawsuit filed this week by the attorney general.

“We will be helping to assemble Washington citizens to support this small business and communicate to our elected officials that this harassment is not being done with the consent of the governed,” said executive director Joseph Blackholm in a release.

Meanwhile, the couple whom Stutzman refused to serve, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, also are considering legal action against her with help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

An ACLU attorney has proposed a settlement requiring Stutzman to provide service to anyone regardless of sexual orientation, write Ingersoll and Freed a letter of apology and donate $5,000 to Vista Youth Center of Kennewick — which serves lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning, or LGBTQ, youth.

“Religious beliefs have been invoked to justify denying women the right to vote; to prohibit men and women of different races from getting married; and to support segregation in schools, businesses, and other public places,” said a letter from Michael Scott, a cooperating attorney with the ACLU. “Just as courts have held that those forms of discrimination are not permitted, even on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs, so is discrimination based on sexual orientation unjust.”

JD Bristol, Stutzman’s Snohomish-based attorney, said he and his client agree businesses are prohibited from discriminating against people because of their faith, ethnicity and sexual orientation. He argued that isn’t the issue here, however.

“The objection isn’t because the client is gay, it’s because of the event,” Bristol told the Herald. “That’s based on a religious sentiment.”

Stutzman refused to serve Ingersoll, a customer of nine years, in early March when he came in to order flowers for his wedding with Freed. She told Ingersoll she couldn’t provide the flowers because of her religious beliefs.

The incident led Ingersoll and Freed to write Facebook posts about it, and that got the attention of the attorney general’s office, as sexual discrimination falls under the state’s consumer protection and anti-discrimination laws.

State justice officials filed the lawsuit in Benton County Superior Court on Tuesday, seeking a court order that Stutzman not discriminate against same-sex couples and that she pay $2,000 per violation. A court date for the case hasn’t yet been set.

Blackholm of the Family Policy Institute said the implications of same-sex marriage beyond the couples it would allow to marry were ignored last year when Washington voters approved a ballot measure allowing those unions. Voters in Benton and Franklin counties rejected the measure.

People who object to same-sex marriage will face pressure to conform or be punished, Blackholm said.

“A small business owner is looking at years of litigation and huge legal expenses because she won’t bow to the political elites,” Blackholm said.

Bristol said Arlene’s Flowers doesn’t discriminate against homosexuals, having served them as customers and employed them. The attorney general’s office is alleging Stutzman refused to provide public accommodation that would force her to violate her conscience and lend her artistic talents as a florist to an event she doesn’t support.

“It is, in my view, a horrible waste of taxpayer dollars,” Bristol said.

However, the ACLU letter to Stutzman said her refusal to serve the couple was not only a violation of law, but also personally hurtful to them after they’d spent years coming to her business because they admired her talents.

“It is a disturbing reminder of the history of discrimination and disparate treatment that they and other gay men and women have experienced over the years,” the ACLU letter said.

The letter closes with a note that the settlement offer from Ingersoll and Freed is only available until April 17. Bristol said neither he nor his client is considering a settlement with the ACLU.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 EBL April 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm
2 Stranded in Sonoma April 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Thomas Sowell said it best.

If you have a right to someone else’s approval, then they do not have a right to their own opinions and values. You cannot say that what “consenting adults” do in private is nobody else’s business and then turn around and say that others are bound to put their seal of approval on it. got hammered by homosexual activists too. They won a lawsuit that forced eHarmony to accept same sex couples wanting to look for dates. That fact that there are MANY similar sites for homosexuals didn’t deter the courts from ruling against eHarmony. Ask the Gay Patriot if he supports that court decision. He’ll tell you NO, he doesn’t. This snit with the florist is nothing more than fascist tactics to get approval for the homosexual lifestyle through force — by the GOV’T!!!

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