Discrimination | Gay Marriage | News | Washington

Washington State Sues Florist Who Refused Gay Couple's Wedding


You may recall Baronelle Stuzman, the Washington state florist who told a longtime customer that she would not do his wedding because of her relationship with Jesus.

She's now being sued by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the SeattlePI reports:

Ferguson said he sent a March 28 letter to owner Barronelle Stutzman asking her to reconsider and supply flowers to customer Robert Ingersoll.  Through an attorney, Stutzman declined to change her position.

“As Attorney General, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington,” said Ferguson.  “Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.  If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same sex couples the same product or service.”

The AG's office s asking that a $2,000 fine be imposed for every violation in a complaint filed in Benton County Superior Court.

NOM is already bleating: "Like clockwork, those who disagree with gay marriage are being fined and forced out of the public square -- by the state-imposed redefinition of marriage."

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  1. @Kiwi
    Bit harsh on David. He's not an enemy and has wished you well. Do him the same.

    Thanks for the conversation and support.
    Canada has almost always done better than the US on social issues.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 10, 2013 6:10:27 PM

  2. i wish him well in his silence. :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 10, 2013 6:23:53 PM

  3. These are fascinating examples of a much larger issue. Certain individuals are arguing that they have a right to discriminate against members of a minority because of their religious beliefs, and should be exempt from secular anti-discrimination laws essentially "because there is no higher law than God's law."

    The real debate here is about what place religious law has in a nation whose precepts forbid the establishment of a state religion. There are plenty of precedents, many of which ironically involve America's other sexual minority: Mormons.

    The LDS once supported polygamy, a clear violation of US law. The Mormon church hypocritically caved to the US state. It'll be interesting to see if people like Ms. Stuzman are willing to be penalized for acting on their beliefs, or if, as the LDS did, they'll experience some expedient "revelation." If they stick to their principles, it'll be even more interesting to see if state and federal authorities are willing to prosecute them.

    Posted by: Bryan | Apr 10, 2013 6:43:26 PM

  4. @David, still not sure where you see hatefulness on our side? The guys who were discriminated against in this case had been loyal, friendly customers of this woman for years--i.e., they had given her a lot of money. It's only when their gayness become too obvious to her (their marriage) that suddenly she wanted no part of their business. How is singling them out for their sexual orientation different than singling someone out for their race? Both are and should be equally illegal. The guys expressed no hatred towards her, even after they were mistreated in this way, and the AG of WA is hardly doing this out of hate.

    As a part-time Canadian (proudly so) I see the AG's evenhanded solution to this--warning businesses that discrimation is not tolerated--as quite in line with the Canadian approach to dealing with such issues. The unfortunately American aspect to this is a public business owner expecting to get a special pass no other business owner gets because her bigotry is religion-based.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 10, 2013 6:50:54 PM

  5. Question, you're a gay baker , would you do a cake with an "I hate fags" on it ?

    Posted by: aki | Apr 10, 2013 7:09:25 PM

  6. and we go.........blame the victim........ugh! and when this florist goes out of business she will be blaming the gblt community..........

    Posted by: Bernie | Apr 10, 2013 7:22:18 PM

  7. @aki

    I would ... but I'd make the 'h' look like a 'd'.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 10, 2013 7:23:50 PM

  8. Agreed! Jesus has your ass in church the state has it everywhere else. Answer to whom when it's appropriate to do so.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Apr 10, 2013 7:35:59 PM

  9. @Aki: Not an apt comparison. She wasn't asked to create a floral arrangement (i.e. a particular product) that spells out "I hate old, white Christians." It would be reasonable for a business owner to object to making such a product, just as a baker would be able to refuse to make a child's birthday cake frosted with razor blades just cause that's what Aunt Mary requested.

    This woman was asked to provide flowers for a wedding of loyal customers, which as a public flower business she is legally obligated to do. The comparison would be if a gay baker refused to bake a cake, any cake, for her retirement (or going-out-of-business) party because he knew she was an anti-gay Christian. And in that case, it would be his obligation to provide that service, preferably with a fake smile.

    Get it?

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 10, 2013 8:36:56 PM

  10. @Ernie: I strongly agree with your entire comment, except this part:
    The comparison would be if a gay baker refused to bake a cake, any cake, for her retirement (or going-out-of-business) party because he knew she was an anti-gay Christian."

    The gay couple doesn't seem to have done anything to be antagonistic toward her, so the qualifier "anti-gay" doesn't make a true parallel.
    It would be more like if the gay baker refused her retirement cake just because she's white or because she's Christian (I use the term loosely here, as Jesus never said anything against gay couples, and he had no trouble associating with people whose sexualities (the eunuchs) and sexual decisions (prostitutes, etc.) were not like His own, and whether they could be considered sinners" didn't change that).

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 10, 2013 11:39:44 PM

  11. @Ernie Ok. NOMs Maggie shows up and wants a cake for a NOM Rally afterparty?

    Posted by: aki | Apr 10, 2013 11:58:42 PM

  12. Her "relationship with Jesus" apparently includes not taking him seriously: "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." In this case, "Caesar" (i.e., the government) is not amused. Guess she doesn't know what is in the Bible, but thumps it anyway. It's always funny to see overly devout Christians doing that.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 11, 2013 12:44:47 AM

  13. Why do these ugly people continue to besmirch the good name of Jesus Christ? He would be ill if He found out people were HATING in His name! Jesus is about love! That's all...no judgement, as Jesus loves ALL of God's children. Not just the straight ones, not just the white ones, but ALL of God's children, gay or straight, black, white, yellow, brown, and every color in between. This lady, like so many misinformed Christians, seems to think it is o.k. to hate in the name of Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. Too bad they will discover the error of their ways when it is far too late...as their souls roast for an eternity in the fires of Hell. They disobeyed God's law, by usurping His ultimate authority, when they pass judgement on others. God is quite clear about this, it continues to amaze me these alleged "Christians" still think it's just fine to keep on hating. It is, at least, here on earth....but as a Christian, we are living here for our reward of eternal life with Christ. If we cannot behave like Him on this planet, we will never know Him after our physical death. So many misguided souls are being led to a very bad place. Wake up, GOTP hypocrites, before it is too late! Save yourselves from yourselves!

    Posted by: millerbeach | Apr 11, 2013 5:46:03 AM

  14. They should go after her, and I'm glad to see it. I hope she pays, not just the fine, but in future lost business.

    Posted by: John | Apr 11, 2013 7:59:59 AM

  15. Here how this will ultimately play out:
    a. Spike in sales from the support of like minded Christians.
    b. Straight but not Narrow friends of gays will make sure her shop is off the list for events.
    c. Sales will plummet by mid summer and shop will close by fall.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Apr 11, 2013 8:02:26 AM

  16. None of this would happen here in Kentucky because of the recent passage of HB-279 which gives churches and religious organizations the specific right to opt out of anything that conflicts with their religious beliefs. Under the new Kentucky law, the state MUST PROVE that they have a compelling interest to force religious groups to obey state law.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Apr 11, 2013 8:14:53 AM

  17. Point taken, GregV.

    And, yes, Aki, if Maggie showed up at a gay baker's shop, she must be welcomed, like any other customer.

    A baker could reasonably argue against making a cake that went against his values (if, for instance, Maggie wanted a cake shaped like her nude body--perish the thought) but only if he refused to make nude cakes for all customers. You can't select out customers you don't like for "special" treatment.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 11, 2013 8:55:40 AM

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