Who to Blame for Arlene's Flowers?

The story of Arlene’s Flowers, a Richland, Washington florist who declined the chance to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding, has now garnered national attention.  Given the nature of the issue, it is likely to be a significant story for a long time. The situation is not entirely unusual.  Many other businesses and professionals have faced legal trouble because of their beliefs about marriage and homosexuality.

But this case is unique. Typically a disgruntled customer claims his civil rights are being violated and files a complaint with the state’s Human Rights Commission. In this case, Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, (360-753-6200) is taking it upon himself to sue a small business owner because her convictions about marriage prohibited her from being able to lend her services to a same-sex wedding ceremony involving long-time customers. 

One wonders what our founding fathers, many of whom left Europe to get away from a religious and philosophical litmus test for being involved in civil society, would think about the Attorney General’s apparent suggestion that you must agree with, or at least cooperate with, the government dogma regarding marriage as a condition of running a business.

Someone looking for a business idea might test just how strong the market for brown shirts actually is in Washington State. 

But who is really responsible?   

The most obvious target is the Attorney General himself.  He initiated the lawsuit and is using taxpayer resources to go after a small business owner with conviction about marriage that he does not share. 
But the attorney general has not acted alone here. During the debate over same-sex “marriage”, situations like this were foreseen. In an attempt to prevent them, amendments were offered in both the House and the Senate that would have clarified that an individual or a small business owner has the legal right to make decisions in their lives and businesses based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of legal consequences.

Those amendments were rejected.  In refusing to provide those legal protections, the legislature expressed their desire for precisely this kind of result; small businesses like Arlene’s Flowers will be faced with lawsuits because of who they are and what they believe.  Every state legislator who voted against the amendments to protect religious freedom and in support of the same-sex “marriage” bill is complicit as well.       

Who is responsible for how the legislature responds?  We are, of course.  If we dislike the fact that the Attorney General is acting at the prompting of the legislature to harass small business owners because they don’t embrace government dogma, then the people who put them into office to make decisions on our behalf need to evaluate how well they’re doing at supervising those who work for them.  

As the great philosopher Michael Jackson once wrote “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”  

Being upset isn’t enough.  We have to be willing to do something about it.  And the best way to do that is to make sure you remember Arlene’s Flowers when you vote next year.  If you vote for the people who supported the policies that led to this outcome, or don’t vote at all, you probably shouldn’t complain.  Or, you can contribute to Arlene’s Flowers legal defense so we can all share the burden.
 

Comments:

Posted by Monte on April 19, 2013
It is a First Amendment case now, will force the state to define the message of marriage and how the marriage of two males fits into that message The state cannot compel the artist to assent to having their work used for subjects they disagree with, any more than the State can compel the poet to write a poem about a subject they disagree with. . .
Posted by Dixie on April 19, 2013
If you disagree with the Attorney General Bob Ferguson wasting tax payer's money filing suit against Arlene's Flowers, call 1-360-753-6200 and leave a message. They are taking a tally of responses and giving the info to him. When this issue was up for a vote, the ads on TV warned that this type of reverse discrimination would happen and the opposing side denied it saying they were just protecting gay's rights to "be with the one they love" just like any other couple. Well, it didn't take very long for that to prove to be a false statement. Just like so many other items with a political agenda, it is sugar-coated until it passes and then the reality of it slaps us in the face. Arlene's Flowers is not the only issue we are facing here, but the future of religious freedom being taken away from in all aspects of our lives. It starts with one issue and before we know it has snow-balled and we can't stop it. Let's stop it now before it starts rolling down the proverbial hill. Barronelle, hang in there. We have your back!!!
Posted by Ted DeVol on April 19, 2013
Richard. It's her stinking business, not yours or the governments. This is about freedom nothing more nothing less.
Posted by cvl on April 18, 2013
I'm stunned by the lengths to which our government will go to spend our money to block a small business owner from acting according to her Christian beliefs. I guess I had the idea we had freedom of religion. It appears to be quickly eroding. There is no reason in the world why Arlene's Flowers should not be able to opt out of a ceremony that is contrary to their faith. Legislation is needed to allow a business owner to make choices that are consistent with their consciences.
Posted by Jay McHue on April 18, 2013
She didn't refuse the customer because he was gay. He was a long-time customer who she knew very well. She refused to provide services to a certain event, which is well within her rights as a business owner. Businesses are under no legal obligation to provide services for every event requested.
Posted by Richard on April 17, 2013
Oh boo hoo. Joseph, what are you still doing here? you people lost your lame attempt to stop the inevitable (GAY marriage). but to stay on topic, Here's an idea and a word of advice to business owners like that backwoods florist: if you are not mature enough to be able to conduct business with all tax paying, law abiding citizens, then you shouldn't be in the business of serving the public.
Posted by Rick Wilson on April 16, 2013
We all do so much better when we live and lead by example. Do we really want a society where people are subject to the beliefs of others when entering a business? It is a Pandora's box to open ourselves to the personal dictates of others. Just look at the jihadist states in the Middle East where people are set upon for wearing the 'wrong' clothes or hair styles and people of certain religious beliefs are only allowed to shop in certain stores. It may seem fine when one is in the majority, but is it really? Many exhalt Crist for fighting abainst the prejudice of His days, but could he have done even more good were he not battling the small prejudices of his day? Let us expand our welcoming spirit, rather than celbrate those who shut their doors to others.
Posted by Oshtur on April 16, 2013
No business owner was a right to refuse to do business with a customer because of that person's religious beliefs or their legal religious practices. Christ associated with the widely hated Samaritans, Paul said that those of the church could do business with those 'of this world', that their possible sins were God's concern not theirs. For a Christian this isn't an issue at all, they would have sold them the flowers. The florist's actions are illegal and immoral, she does need or need further calls fir hard heartedness but rather friends to show her the Christian path of friendship, forgiveness and redemption.
Posted by A Smith on April 15, 2013
It would really be helpful if there was a link in this article to the voting record of those that voted against the amendments that would have protected this business. Especially, since this was the entire point of the article. FWIW, I totally agree that the blame should be placed at the feet of our legislators.
Posted by R Greene on April 15, 2013
A SAD DAY FOR WASHINGTON STATE. I KNEW THIS WAS COMING WHEN RICK STEVES, STARBUCKS, NORDSTROMS AND ALL OF THE HOLLYWOOD CROWD SENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PASS GAY MARRIAGE HERE. We are so far from sane as a nation, that it is pathetic. I don't know if we can be saved as a people; it looks as if we are following the other sheep over the edge!
Posted by Doug on April 15, 2013
This is really stupid. Whatever happened to "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?" Wasting taxpayer dollars in the name of intolerance. Bob Ferguson seems to be taking sides and not respecting others beliefs. What a double standard! He should just resign immediately.
Posted by parentoftwo on April 15, 2013
This situation exposes the utter degradation of our state and nation, especially in the political sphere. I am so ashamed of our state for voting in R74, and I hope this instance of taking away religious freedom from Arlene's flowers will be a warning to all other states who vote about this in the future. I pray for the preservation of the people in our nation as long as possible. However, I feel like the political process can only provide bandaids to the deep problems in our government and society. We have to vote, as proper citizens, of course, and some may feel they need to do even more. As far me, this is how I feel.: All the governments of the world rebel against God, exalt man, and worship idols (things that replace God). The only lasting solution is for Christ to return, to smite all of human governments (as the smiting stone in Daniel) and set up His eternal kingdom. Who will join Him to become His mature Bride so He can return? Who will pray for His kingdom to come?
Posted by Ted DeVol on April 15, 2013
So if a construction company tells a religious group it refuses to build a Tower of Babble 2013. Bob Ferguson will go after them? If MAMBLA want's a business to do work for them or one of them will Bob Ferguson go after that business? If a religious group with ties to bombing somewhere in the world, is refused service by a "private" company is Bob Ferguson going after them also. Who the hell does Bob Ferguson think he is wasting our money using Fascism to go after a private business.
Posted by Gene on April 15, 2013
I blame the RINOS yet you are speaking at their conference. SO I guess I blame you for supporting the RINOS by speaking at their damn Cascade Conference. Oh well, at least your words might get some coverage since TV-W always covers that event. Maureen Walsh got re-elected so I blame all those good "conservatives" who held their noses and voted for her in 2012 anyway.
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