WA Florist Sued for Beliefs About Marriage
by Joseph Backholm | April 9, 2013Yesterday, newly elected Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a florist in Richland, Washington because she declined to provide floral arrangements to a same-sex wedding ceremony. Arlene's Flowers is a small business whose owner, Barronelle Stutzman, had served this customer for years. She knew he was gay, and it was never an issue, because she's happy to serve everybody.
But she isn’t willing to lend her services to every activity, and when it came to a same-sex wedding, she just couldn’t do it. According to her statement, she explained herself, he said he respected it; they hugged and he left.
No one notified Ms. Stutzman that under the new regime, kindness and understanding, while holding true to your convictions, cannot be tolerated. After all, we’re on a mission to make the world more tolerant.
The suit asks the florist to promise to never again be so naughty and pay a fine of $2,000 for stepping out of line. Should a pacifist web designer be fined for telling the National Rifle Association he would rather not design their website? Should the Republican printer be required to print campaign literature for the Democrats?
During the debate over the redefinition of marriage last year in Washington State, proponents of natural marriage argued repeatedly that this was not simply about people having the opportunity to form relationships, but that redefining marriage had consequences for education, parental rights, and religious liberty. Despite dozens of examples from around the country, they rolled their eyes.
“This won’t make any difference for anyone except for the loving, committed couples who will no longer be treated as second class citizens,” they argued.
One wonders how many of those who assured us that no one would lose their liberty will come to the defense of Arlene’s Flowers.
Of course this lawsuit isn't due exclusively to the redefinition of marriage. The non-discrimination statute that this suit has been brought under existed previously. It was bad then, it is bad now. The difference, however, is this. Now that the law says marriage is genderless, those who think otherwise are much more likely to be confronted with the Hobbesian choice to conform or be punished.
This isn’t an isolated case. All over the country photographers, court clerks, doctors, psychologists, bakers and others are facing a similar dilemma. State and local governments have decided use their power to prevent people from violating government etiquette standards.
In the 1960’s, the liberals were fighting for the freedom to burn flags, protest, be profane, and generally express themselves in ways that they knew were offensive. “I may not like what you say,” they shouted, “but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” Almost seems noble.
I miss liberals.
Back in the day, a liberal who was denied service from a business for reasons he didn’t appreciate might express his thoughts with his middle finger, which would be his right, but at the end of the day he would still appreciate the fact that in America people are free to be themselves even if he finds it annoying, inconvenient, or offensive.
Now they believe they are legally entitled to someone else’s labor.
There was a time, not that long ago, that you didn’t have to pledge allegiance to a certain political philosophy in order to have the right to the pursuit of happiness. Let’s do that again.
Friends, you may not be a florist, and you may have made a different decision, but liberty is at stake for all of us. Draw your line in the sand right here. Don’t ignore the bully just because he hasn’t punched you in the mouth yet. A small business owner is looking at years of litigation and huge legal expenses because she won’t bow to the political elites.
Stand with Arlene’s Flowers.
If you would like to be part of an effort to do something about this, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. 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.
Then, forward this, like it, share it, etc… Someone needs to tell the boss what’s going on.