The trend toward alienating the faithful who support traditional marriage took an ominous turn this week when a florist in Washington State was sued for refusing to provide flowers for the wedding of a homosexual patron who was a frequent customer of her shop.
The Family Research Council is reporting that Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington, was notified on April 9 that the state’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against her for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
The lawsuit came about as a result of an incident that occurred on March 1 when longtime customer Robert Ingersoll asked Stutzman to provide the flowers for his upcoming wedding to his male partner. Stutzman kindly told him that she couldn’t do this because as a Christian, she objected to same-sex “marriage” on moral grounds. Ingersoll said he respected her opinion. The two hugged and parted ways.
The next thing she knew, she was being sued.
The suit is seeking a permanent injunction requiring the florist to comply with the state’s consumer protection laws and seeks at least $2,000 in fines.
Stutzman is fighting back, however, and her attorney, J.D. Bristol, calls the suit “nonsense.”
“Arlene’s Flowers has catered to all patrons, including homosexuals, for many years.” In fact, he points out, “Arlene’s Flowers has had openly gay employees.”
He adds: “This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay. She has a conscientious objection to homosexual ‘marriage,’ not homosexuality. It violates her conscience.”
He claims her suit is unique because she has a history of serving Ingersoll on other occasions and only draws the line at being forced to participate in a ceremony that violates her faith.
The outcome of the suit is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, in states where marriage has been redefined, “those who disagree with same-sex marriage are being fined and forced out of the public square — by the state-imposed redefinition of marriage,” writes FRC president Tony Perkins.
“Of course, leading up to last November’s election, when Washington State voted to legalize same-sex ‘marriage,’ supporters argued that redefining marriage wouldn’t hurt anyone–that it was just about two people who love each other. Well, it may be about two people who love each other, but it’s also about the florists, the bakers, the candlestick makers, and everyone else the Left wants to force to endorse their relationship!”
Perkins is encouraging the faithful to stand behind Arlene’s Flowers by visiting their Facebook page and sharing this story with friends and neighbors.
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