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. Yeah, raise your hand if you know Washington State law...

    (I do)

    She broke the new anti-discrimination law. She is guilty. The offended party is just now pursuing legal options against her, but the state has had enough and is suing her to enforce it's new law.

    This law was voted into power, it is the will of the people, she broke it.

    The only wiggle room is art. Artists can't be made to make art, they choose to make art. When an artist parlays their skill into a business, they can be made to make art. This woman's only defense is that after she was sued and read up on the law, she now claims to be an artist.


    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 11, 2013 11:38:33 AM

  2. @David, read a damn book.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 11, 2013 11:39:05 AM

  3. Violation of civil rights law can and has resulted in prison time. If, for instance, a restaurant owner were to refuse service to a customer based upon their race, they could be subjected to criminal penalties resulting in prison time under the Civil Rights Act passed under President Johnson. The argument with respect to the rights of private businesses was one raised by the extreme right wing when they debated it in Congress in the late sixties. That argument was thoroughly debunked -- private businesses that serve the public (restaurants, hotels, retail establishments such as a florists) are not free to discriminate as their very existence is a result of serving the public (the people)and they operate within the public sphere. This case was a clear violation of Washington State civil rights law. For such a civil rights law to be effective it must be enforced vigorously.

    Posted by: Ted | Apr 11, 2013 11:39:28 AM

  4. Black people gave one another the same message during their fight:

    - don't rock the boat
    - be polite
    - dress nice, talk nice
    - don't cause trouble
    - do what they say
    - sit at the back of the bus

    Thankfully Rosa Parks got tired of it. I certainly understand the feelings of some.
    If we go after her and make her into a martyr that the Talibangelists will think less of us. THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE! The Bryan Fischers and Rick Santorums of the world already hate us. Just as sitting back and doing nothing won't make then like us, standing up for ourselves yet once again isn't going to make then hate us any more than they already do.

    She broke the law! If we allow her to simply ignore laws that she finds inconvenient, what's next? If she was an Atheist and refused to do flowers for a chrisitian you can be your Sweet Lulu they'd be suing. Does that make us "the same" as them? No. We're fabulous.

    Posted by: Gigi | Apr 11, 2013 11:41:41 AM

  5. Ernie - You are incorrect. This is exactly about free speech. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent case law, you cannot tell a customer, "I would rather not serve you, but what would you like me to do for you today?"

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 11:42:43 AM

  6. Look at the Quislings like David Hearne wanting desperately that back seat on the bus because they don't believe that they should be treated the same as straight people.

    Posted by: homer | Apr 11, 2013 11:44:35 AM

  7. Seriously, this woman must be some of these commentors' mother or something.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Apr 11, 2013 11:44:37 AM

  8. Thank you Little Kiwi- well said. You cant break the law- its your job to know what the laws are so you dont break them. Laws that people have with their imaginary friend jesus do not apply to the real world. So if you want to live in a civilized society- you need to abide by the laws!!! Sheesh.......

    Posted by: Todd B | Apr 11, 2013 11:44:58 AM

  9. Trolls-a-poppin'! tsk tsk

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Apr 11, 2013 11:46:03 AM

  10. can some of y'all Americans actually find out what the First Amendment means so you can finally realize that this has NOTHING to do with, uh, "freedom of speech"? thanks.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 11, 2013 11:47:23 AM

  11. Amazing the ignorance in some of these comments. Are some of you really advocating that people be allowed to subjectively decide who they will provide public services to?


    My tax dollars pay for services to your business, not to fund your religious discrimination. I get enough of that from churches.

    This woman is not a church.

    And those of you whining that she should be allowed to discriminate in providing services have absolutely no idea how offensively ignorant you are about the civil rights movement and the number of people who were assaulted and killed in order to end this kind of discrimination.

    You're sick to death of people demanding equal treatment Dave? Then move to a country without civil rights laws.

    Posted by: SPOT | Apr 11, 2013 11:48:01 AM

  12. Fenrox - Are you aware that the NAACP threatened to sue a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, not because they refused to serve black people, but because they decided to remain closed during Black Bike Weekend. There you had a business, who through their experience not their prejudice, had decided that remaining open during Black Bike Weekend simply wasn't worth the aggravation. And the NAACP threatened them with litigation. That's extortion.

    Now by what arrogant and stupid reasoning can you imagine that it is within your rights or the right of the state to tell a business owner that he has to be open for business when he has determined it would not be profitable for him to do so?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 11:49:37 AM

  13. Guess what Dave..those other things you mentioned...that kind of discrimination exists because people get the idea that if you can deny public services to them in one area,then you can do it in all of them.

    Posted by: Kevin | Apr 11, 2013 11:50:51 AM

  14. No, @David, this isn't about free speech. She is not being sued for anything she said. She is being sued for being in obvious violation of Washington state non-discrimination law.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 11, 2013 11:53:30 AM

  15. David Heane, businesses do not have a right to free speech. They are compelled by public accommodation. So this woman is perfectly free to practice whatever religion she likes AND to tell gays that she hates them, while she's handling their order. She could also hand them off to another employee and sit this one out.

    But she can't turn away their business based on the fact that they belong to a particular class of people. That's Washington state law.

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Apr 11, 2013 11:53:55 AM

  16. She violated a law and should be fined, etc. Discrimination does not make good business practice. Personally, I hope she loses her business.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 12:00:00 PM

  17. Giving an ultimatum like that seems shady. The state should prosecute her because what she did was unlawful, the ACLU should step in if the state can't or won't. But the way the ACLU is handling this is jacked, in a way they're basically blackmailing her... If you don't do this, this, and this we're going to sue, but if you pay this penance we can forget about the lawsuit. There shouldn't be a plea bargain here. Sue her because you think its the right thing to do, don't use it as scare tactic to get her to do what you want, you're sinking below her level.

    We're better than this, boycott, protest, push for better equal treatment legislation. We shouldn't be fighting cooties by threatening to tell mommy if they don't give us their toys.

    Posted by: Derek | Apr 11, 2013 12:08:52 PM

  18. Andy - she is not a homophobe - more likely she is just a Straight Supremacist that feels greater and better than you. Stop giving them this magical reason to hate you - that is just what people do and it is not out of the PC curable reason of "fear".

    Did you not see the Greater Than logo you posted this morning???

    That is not fear. That is elitism as any cost.

    Posted by: rjp3 | Apr 11, 2013 12:10:36 PM

  19. She's gonna be sorry. The ACLU doesn't play around and knows how to deal with homophobes.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 12:14:17 PM

  20. Shame she'll end up losing her shop.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Apr 11, 2013 12:18:39 PM

  21. The cynical side of me tends to think that a woman who would engage in blatant religiously-motivated discrimination against clients based on her views of their sexual orientation, and then double down on her position when called on it, is highly likely to try and play the martyr card, no matter what happens later.

    Posted by: Graham Shevlin | Apr 11, 2013 12:19:12 PM

  22. She did it to herself. Discrimination is as ugly as she is. Buh-bye bigot!

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 11, 2013 12:27:11 PM

  23. I'm sure I will be attacked, but this is not helpful to our cause in the least.

    Here I sit in Illinois with opponents of marriage equality making stuff up about the consequence for businesses, churches, etc., when marriage equality is implemented. Things like this do nothing but give them ammunition.

    It's not like this is some essential service, and why anybody would want to give money to someone like this is bizarre.

    Get your damned flowers from another florist and remember there is a bigger picture. Your actions have consequences outside of your state.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Apr 11, 2013 12:33:04 PM

  24. hilarious words coming from a eunuch who voted for Romney, LincolnLounger.

    congrats on missing the point. as per usual.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 11, 2013 12:35:42 PM

  25. Are some of you people stupid? There is a law in that states that she can't do this. Hence, the lawsuit. God give me strength to deal with these self loathing gays.

    Posted by: J. | Apr 11, 2013 12:42:44 PM

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