WA Lawmaker’s Office: ‘Gay People Can Grow Their Own Food’ if Christian Store Owners Refuse to Serve Them

The office of Washington lawmaker Mike Hewitt, the co-sponsor of SB 5927, a bill that would amend our anti-discrimination laws to allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians because of their "sincerely held religious beliefs," is handing out some interesting advice to gay constituents calling in with concerns about the bill:

Hewitt"Well, gay people can just grow their own food."

That's what one staffer told Slog reader Jay Castro on Friday.

Reports Anna Minard at Slog:

When Castro then asked the male staffer his name, he refused to identify himself, reportedly responding, "I don't have to tell you that," then, "Don't call here again," and hanging up the phone. This happened at around 11:00 this morning.

About an hour after Castro's call, I called Hewitt's office myself to find out if—and more importantly why—government staffers are telling gay people to "grow their own food" if straight Christians don't want to sell them groceries. My conversation was brief, to say the least. When I asked about the bill, the male staffer who answered the phone immediately directed me to a spokesperson for the state Republicans. When I clarified that I was calling to ask about Hewitt's sponsorship of the bill in particular, he said he had no comment.

The bill is not expected to pass but is getting attention because of the case of florist Barronelle Stuzman.


  1. Thomas says

    C’mon, these people have sincere beliefs and stuff. I totally remember that part in the Bible where Jesus opened a furniture shop and wouldn’t let the lepers and prostitutes shop there and burned all the rainbow flags.

  2. MichaelJohn says

    But there’s nothing in scripture that supports that. Nowhere does it say “don’t provide services to gays.”

    Will this would-be law also apply to the Muslims this man no doubt hates, enabling discrimination against Christians?

  3. Matt26 says

    What a great, creative idea. Then lgbt children could have their own schools, sport teams, places in the buses, perhaps some sign which will tell they’re lgbt people. Wait!? Why this sounds so familiar. Oh yes, the dark times of 20th and 19th centuries.
    What an idiotic idea!

  4. Tom says

    I believe this Representative comes from the city of Spokane Valley, which came as NO surprise to me what so ever. Very conservative part of the County of Spokane which is conservative. His thinking is like alot of other GOP’ers from back in the 1950’s or earlier.

  5. QJ201 says

    Christians should do their own hair, design their own cloths, grow their own flowers, groom their own pets, craft their own jewelry, cook their own food and lastly, have sex with their own spouses.

  6. Jay Joseph says

    The Republican party never ceases to amaze me. Not long from now the majority of elected lawmakers will be liberal thinkers or at the least sane.

  7. Sabrina M Austin says

    Are you kidding me? I am at a complete loss for words… How dos this person get voted into office? I have to sathis man is the epitome of a moron… I have one question is it painful being that stupid? I mean really! There is a special place in hell for bigots like you!

  8. Dearcomrade says

    I’ve got something for Mike Hewitt and his anonymous staffer to eat.

    As for the Florist in Richland, Time to pay up for breaking the law baby! Ha, Ha.

  9. Onnyjay says

    How about this: I have a sincerely held religious belief that fascist “lawmakers” who pander to the mouth breathers and bottom feeders should be dipped in sh*t twice daily. Think some dolt in the Pac NW will stand up and support that? Not holding my breath.

  10. Tom in Long Beach says

    Wow, grow our own food. While feeling that true Christanity is the radical inclusion of everyone, (Mathew 7:12. )remember that hypocritical churches were a huge source of KKK members in the early 20th century.

  11. george says

    ok Fine well grow our own food, but dont expect it to be the second rate cancer causing food you sell us. Oh and this really only hurts you, and it keeps more money in my pocket!

  12. Mary says

    A lot going on here on both sides that doesn’t make much sense. Christians telling gay customers to “grow their own food” is bizarre. Gay people have to eat, just like the rest of us. Depriving them of food does…what? Make them straight? Enable them to come to Jesus sooner? I’m lost here. Another case of social conservatives and their “foot in mouth” problem.

    People like florists, bridal shop owners, and receptional hall owners who refuse to cater to gay weddings have a somewhat stronger case because it is not gay PEOPLE they are refusing to cooperate with but the wedding itself. The same person who wouldn’t provide flowers for a gay wedding would have no trouble selling flowers to a gay man who is buying them for his mother (or who is buying them and like most people doesn’t need to tell the florist who he is buying them for.) At the same time, gay marriage is now legal in 10 states and those who regret this fact have to come to terms with it. A religious exemption for an individual, as opposed to a religious institution means that people can use religion to circumvent almost any law they dislike. Conservatives who are always advocates of “law and order” should think about the future consequences of allowing people to use religion in this manner. When I advocate that gays shouldn’t sue these people refusing to cater to their weddings I do so only because I worry about the potential political backlash. In truth, those who serve the public need to start accepting equality – no matter how they may personally feel about it.

    I still say that giving people in the service industries a decade to comply with the equality principle is a good compromise. This is long enough time for them to train for a new profession if they honestly can’t handle treating gay weddings as real weddings.

  13. Tom says

    In Spokane County, all it takes is an “R” in front of your name and you are voted in, sadly. Just ask Cathy McMorris Rogers. The voters here do NOT hold their elected officials accountable.

  14. Joe says

    Just another ultra conservative republican proposing bills he know won’t pass to drum up support and energy from his base. I often think people like him do more to help gay rights by making the religious right seem too radical.

    On a side note, I don’t think we should be writing articles highlighting opinions of anonymous staffers/volunteers.

  15. AdamTh says

    Christians don’t need a special law to exempt them, especially one that would be expen$ive to defend in court. They just need a new symbol.

    They need to get a rainbow flag and superimpose a red “NO” circle & crossbar over the flag. They can post these stickers at their place of business. That would send the message “We really don’t like the LGBT community and we don’t want to do business with you. But, if required, we will follow the law and take your money.”

    Problem solved. The LGBT community will avoid those businesses. No court fight. No lawyers. Most Christian churches (that I know) would print these and provide them to Christian business owners for free. (When the business owners realize it’s really an embarrassment to them, they can then quietly remove those stickers.)

  16. Mary says

    Too bad they can’t solve the problem by having homophobes simply GIVE a lot of their own food to gays out of charity. The contact they have with gays could qualify as “feeding the hungry” rather than “doing business with sinners.” Charity is, of course, a virtue. And considering how tubby a lot of homphobes are it would do THEM good to have a lot less food lying around the house!

    (Being pro-gay must be helping me develop a sense of humor!)

  17. Llian says

    And to the self hating gays who read articles about a restaurant, or cake maker, or florist or hotel that denies service to gay couples or gay people and you flippantly say “well get over it and find a place that accepts our money”….you reek of privilege. Come live in Oklahoma where you’d have to travel 3 hours just to eat at a diner, if businesses were freely encouraged to disable gays from entering. 955 of businesses in my area would have signs reading “No gays allowed”

    This is why its important to fight for discrimination protection laws in every state that cover LGBT and ensure public businesses can’t deny us service under any manner.

  18. 2 Dads says

    The Christians in this country ARE the Islamic extremist of the middle east. Absolutely no difference. At all.

    We need to fight more quickly for non discrimination laws that cover GLBT and quick because these Christian loons are getting crazier by the day.

  19. Junior says

    But gay people aren’t being discriminated….no, no no….our discrimination isn’t a civil rights manner, even though people want to vote against our rights, kill us, murder us, harass us, and now deny us entry into a business. No, homophobia is totally fabricated.


  20. Geoff says

    Please. From the blurb you’d think that only Christians sell food. When I’ve known merchants who advertise their religion (first)…be it Christ-inanity (or whatever) – I’ve automatically avoided it anyway! I’m nearly 60 and have suffered no ill effects. I’m well-fed…and happy. Don’t need Christers for anything!

  21. Marcus says

    NO your bull Christianity does NOT protect you from denying service like flowers, or cake, to a gay customer. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT THAT CUSTOMER DOES WITH THE FLOWER YOU SOLD THEM…

    SICK Christians want to now use their religions as a means to segregate our country. THIS IS SICK.

    Sue these law breakers using their religion to promote ILLEGAL acts!

  22. Kevin_BGFH says

    @Mary – In fact, I heard that the reason this gay couple went to this florist in the first place was because they used her services all the time.

    That said, the analogy with the food remains apt. It’s easy to tell them to find another florist, maybe even a gay florist. But what if you live in a sparsely populated rural area? What if every florist in that area refused to serve you?

    It’s easy enough to say that it’s just stupid flowers, not something critical like food or medical care. But who decides which services are important to be covered by anti-discrimination statutes and which are “frivolous” or unnecessary?

  23. MJ says

    My letter to Senator Hewitt –

    Dear Senator Hewitt:

    I sincerely hope you can advise me regarding a frantic call I received from my 78-year old aunt Edna, who lives in a small town in your state. She is completely overwhelmed at the possible need to raise her own food and produce her own gasoline if SB5927 passes. She is an avid gardener and could possibly grow enough vegetables to meet her needs, but she doesn’t have enough space to grow wheat or the strength required to milk a cow. She is quite sure there is no oil on her .17 acre lot.

    I would appreciate any advice or words of comfort you can offer.


Leave A Reply