Barronelle Stuzman | Discrimination | Gay Marriage | News | Washington

Homophobic Washington Florist Barronelle Stuzman Faces Second Lawsuit Threat


Yesterday I reported that Barronelle Stuzman, the homophobic Washington state florist who told a gay longtime customer that she would not do his wedding because of her relationship with Jesus, was being sued by the Attorney General for discrimination.

Stuzman now faces the threat of a second lawsuit from the gay couple she discriminated against and the ACLU, Slog's Dominic Holden reports:

Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed's lawyers, working with the legal powerhouse at the ACLU of Washington, sent a letter today to Arlene's Flowers owner Baronelle Stutzman saying she has two options: (1) She can vow to never again discriminate in her services for gay people, write an apology letter to be published in the Tri-City Herald, and contribute $5,000 to a local LGBT youth center, or (2) she can get sued for violating the Washington State Civil Rights Act...

..."Your refusal to sell flowers to Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. Freed for their wedding has hurt them very deeply. 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," write the couple's lawyers at the firm Hillis, Clark, Martin, and Petersen, who then add more sharply, "More to the point of this letter, your conduct was a violation of Washington law."

Stuzman and her bigotry have shown no signs of giving in.

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  1. Jesus will save her.

    Posted by: Jack M | Apr 11, 2013 10:48:04 AM

  2. Poor woman. What she did was wrong, I do not argue with that.

    But I certainly hope that the lawsuit is more bark than bite and that she is strongly encouraged to go with the first option.

    It's not like she's some big corporation with deep pockets and a nationwide client base. Give her a bit of a scare and leave her be.

    Posted by: G | Apr 11, 2013 10:50:05 AM

  3. I'm gay, and I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but my opinion is that if someone doesn't want to do business with you, then don't go there.

    Suing won't solve anything, besides making us out to be tyrants who refuse to accept a different perception of life, one I vehemently disagree with.

    If it was me, I'd find another Florist. That's the best response. You don't want me as a client. Fine. Your loss.

    Posted by: Chriso | Apr 11, 2013 10:51:20 AM

  4. I think a lawsuit is the wrong way to go. We have enough people on our side now that simply talking about this lady and how she doesn't like gays is enough.

    Posted by: AJD | Apr 11, 2013 10:56:16 AM

  5. These people need to learn how to fraking lie. She deserves to get sued for not being smart enough to come up with some excuse to cover up her bigoted views.

    Posted by: Cyberman | Apr 11, 2013 10:59:26 AM

  6. I totally agree with Chriso and G. I think this makes us look bad. It makes the argument that we are "out to get the Christians" look true. If a small business doesn't want to provide service to someone for being gay, it's the small business' loss. There are plenty of flower shops, even in Eastern Washington, who would love the business and would supply the flowers for a gay wedding joyfully, instead of grudgingly. We should be supporting the businesses that support us, not trying to hurt those that don't; it's a much more effective method.

    Posted by: Blake | Apr 11, 2013 10:59:38 AM

  7. @ Chrisco...

    I agree with you...with a "but"

    They were clients of hers for a "period of time"....hence their was a "relationship".

    Also "assuming" it was a friendly relationship for she took their money.

    As another person has mentioned she could have come up with 101 "other excuses" to not
    supply the flowers...She choose Jesus.

    Let him help her now.

    Posted by: anthony | Apr 11, 2013 11:00:32 AM

  8. So, the gays are doing everything to live up to anti-gay stereotypes. Being assholes is surely the way to go.

    Posted by: AG | Apr 11, 2013 11:01:09 AM

  9. I'm fine with the first lawsuit, which is being filed by the STATE against her for breaking their anti-discrimination laws.

    This suit however, IMO, is just piling on and more likely to make her a martyr for the Christian Right.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 11, 2013 11:05:05 AM

  10. "There are four burdens, which gays, along with every other despised group, whether it's blacks following slavery and reconstruction, or Jews fearful of Germany, must address.

    The first is recognize one must overcome fear.

    The second is overcoming self-hate.

    The third is overcoming self-denial.

    The fourth is more political. It is to recognize that the job of the gay community is not to deal with extremists who would castigate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us. The fact of the matter is that there is a small percentage of people in America who understand the true nature of the homosexual community. There is another small percentage who will never understand us.

    Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate.

    That's our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest antigay sentiment".

    Bayard Rustin
    From Montgomery to Stonewall

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Apr 11, 2013 11:07:52 AM

  11. What a bunch of wimps some of you are. Yeeeesh! She. Broke. The. Law.

    you know what happens when people break laws and discriminate against historically-discriminated against people? they need to be punished. why? or else it keeps on going.

    what's UP with you guys, eh? did y'all come from families that wish they could continue to turn away those unwanted "colored" customers or something?

    backbones. invest. please. kthanks.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 11, 2013 11:08:37 AM

  12. so private businesses aren't allowed to have free speech? this threatens free enterprise for a lot of privately run businesses not just in Washington.

    I'm gay but I would have just taken my business elsewhere and left the business owner to run HER business the way she sees fit. sad that they've gone after here.

    Posted by: stephen | Apr 11, 2013 11:09:07 AM

  13. Do we really want to make her into a martyr?

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Apr 11, 2013 11:09:37 AM

  14. I guess Rosa Parks must be an @$$hole too. She should have given up her seat like a good n****r!

    Same goes for all those uppity n****rs at Woolworth. They should have eaten somewhere else rather than make a scene!

    That also applies to those prissy f*gs and drag queens at Stone wall. Should have just let the cops arrest them for the crime of being gay rather than start a riot and scare the straight folks!

    Gosh, nobody should ever rock the boat - equal rights aren't worth it if it someone gets offended!

    Posted by: Firestorm | Apr 11, 2013 11:14:53 AM

  15. If she received extra profit due to a "Chick-fil-A effect", then it's especially right that she gets hit with lawsuits.

    Posted by: Kyle | Apr 11, 2013 11:18:19 AM

  16. Some of you sound like people more concerned with what heterosexuals think of us than standing up against discrimination. If a restaurant had a "No Blacks" sign in front of their doors, there would be incredible outrage. Yet this florist is essentially doing the same except with a "No Gays" sign and some of you are ready to let her off the hook.

    Sure, if a business doesn't want to do business with you because you're gay, you shouldn't do business with them or even want to. Of course, but that DOES NOT mean that any such business should get away with DISCRIMINATION. Discrimination is discrimination, and discrimination against us is rampant and thinking that we have society on our side regarding discrimination against us in the working field is completely false based on the numbers, and polls, where people in fact feel it should be legal and is OK for businesses to discriminate against us. It happens all of the time, and some of you want to turn a blind eye to incidents like this? The only way the discrimination ends is if we fight against it. Some of you want to give in to the bigots and just "ignore" discrimination but put yourself in the shoes of the victims. Put yourself in the shoes of the victims who have their humanity thrown in their face.

    Nope, sorry. You break the law, there are consequences. She broke the law. She loses. Why should this couple ignore the be nice? Why exactly should the couple in question not actually seek to have this woman follow the law? Instead of worrying about how heterosexuals or anti-gay bigots will think about this lawsuit, why don't you celebrate this couple for sticking up for themselves and the AG of Washington for sticking up for the gay community.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 11, 2013 11:18:53 AM

  17. It is so cute that we're now supposed to care deeply that she broke the law. This particular lawsuit shows that the law in question is not fair. And what about all other laws. Anti-sodomy laws are still on the books in several states. Just 10 years ago they were not even overturned by the Supreme Court. And how about illegal immigrants? What have you done today, kiwi, to investigate the immigration status of people around you and report them to US immigration authorities?

    Posted by: AG | Apr 11, 2013 11:19:48 AM

  18. YES. By all means lets make this woman a martyr. I hope all the lawsuits run her out of business. Let her martyrdom be an example to all the other bigots.

    What you do in your church, temple, synagogue, or home is your own business. In the public arena you follow the law!

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Apr 11, 2013 11:21:48 AM

  19. I think the rejected customers were absolutely right to publicize her homophobic attitudes and report her to state agencies that handle discrimination. I'm glad the state is filing suit.

    That's what they are there for.

    But other than hurt feelings (and a much-needed heads-up to stop giving this woman any more of their money), what damages did they actually incur? They had to go to another florist? Again, the real tragedy here is that they gave her their business for years not knowing she secretly despised them.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 11, 2013 11:22:07 AM

  20. Firestorm and Kiwi have it right. Some of you sound PATHETIC. Not trying to offend but, yeah.

    Free speech, Stephen, does not give this woman the right to break Washington state law by refusing to serve a gay man. In fact, that has nothing to do with free speech. At all. That's a ridiculous comparison to make.

    Discrimination in the working world occurs against the LGBT community more than any other group by a WIDE margin. Some of you are willing to simply look the other way, I guess. Not all of us. Discrimination is discrimination. Barronelle Stuzman broke the law and there are consequences.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 11, 2013 11:24:09 AM

  21. Look, if the lady refused to serve Catholics or African-Americans or Jews or Hindus or Muslims or Asians or the disabled or Buddhists or the elderly or one entire gender (men or women), there wouldn't be any question here or people wringing their hands about "ohmigod, what will people think" about suing this woman for breaking the law. And in the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s they didn't say "well, we've already made some progress about the busing situation, but we better not do a sit-in at that racist guy's diner because, oh no, people might think we're pushy." If you want or expect equality, act like it. STOP ACCEPTING SECOND-CLASS CITIZENSHIP. The end.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Apr 11, 2013 11:25:39 AM

  22. I'm guessing we'll learn more about the damages incurred during these legal suits, Caliban. I don't think you're pathetic, BTW, I can see what you're saying. Maybe the financial damages weren't significant but the emotional ones probably were. In any case, this woman broke the law so there are consequences for that and I have no problem with the couple seeking reparations. Seems they really want a resolution more than they want to destroy this woman's company.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 11, 2013 11:34:06 AM

  23. Wow--what's with all the apologists today?

    Time to grow a pair and start letting people know this IS bigotry. Sometimes the only way to make that happen is through the courts.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Apr 11, 2013 11:34:37 AM

  24. @Stephen, this has nothing to do with free speech. She's free to voice her opinion about gay people; she's not free to select a certain group to exclude from a public business. It's a clear violation of WA non-discrimination laws.

    As for those saying, well, just go to another florist. Again, not the point. When a state passes non-discrimination laws the point is to send a message to all citizens and business owners that, in this state, you can't discriminate against people you don't like just because you don't like them. You can't hang out a "No . . . Allowed" sign, not here. The WA AG was simply protecting his state's interests and values by showing her the consequences of violating state law.

    It could be argued that the couple bringing a lawsuit is bad PR because it creates a situation the bigots will use to play the martyr card, but the same could have been (and was) said about anyone who refused to be treated like a 2nd class citizen. And make no mistake, she is the a-hole here. You're not a decent person when you take loyal customers' money for years, as she did, then suddenly decide to get up on your moral high horse when these loyal customers make the mistake of getting legally married.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 11, 2013 11:36:16 AM

  25. This is not a hospital. This is not a pharmacy. This is not a motel or an auto repair facility in the middle of nowhere.

    This is not an essential service. Neither the state nor the individual has a right to force this woman to work for people she doesn't want to work for.

    You people keep defending this. You claim that because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been upheld that it therefore must be carved on a stone tablet from God. Well it doesn't work that way. Every violation of the Constitution was unconstitutional when it was written, not simply when it was finally tossed out.

    Listen to yourselves. Are you saying that sodomy laws were constitutional? I should hope not. They weren't constitutional, but they hadn't been successfully challenged until LAwrence.

    I am sick to death of gay people saying, "My rights are being violated." in one breath and then calling for the violation of the rights of others in the next breath; whether it's First Amendment rights or Second Amendment rights.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 11:36:41 AM

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