Atheism News: A florist in Richland, WA is under scrutiny immediately after the owner refused service for a gay couple. It looks like owner Barronelle Stuzman is taking a page out of the 'Sweet Cakes by Melissa' playbook and is hiding behind a deity as justification for committing an illegal discriminatory offense. On March 06, 2013 On Top Magazine and Advocate.Com shared all of the details of developing story.
"I'm sorry, I can't do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ," Stuzman reportedly told customer Robert Ingersoll.
Ingersoll, a patron of this very same florist for the past decade, is stunned that she suddenly wouldn't serve him -- especially since gay marriage is recognized and legal in the state of Washington. Barronelle Stuzman is clearly using her religion as a weapon against another human being's rights, and she is in very clear violation of Washington state law.
In 2006 the landmark Anderson-Murray law was enacted in the state of Washington to protect members of the LGBTQ community. This law is in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace, in schools, in housing situations and regarding public accommodations. In fact, the law clearly states that businesses which operate to sell goods and services to the public are not allowed to discriminate against homosexuals in any way shape or form. So it certainly does seem that Barronelle Stuzman, owner of 'Arlene's Flowers' is in violation of a law that could render the entire establishment bankrupt thanks to all the fines she will be required to pay.
Stuzman said on the 'Arlene's Flowers' Facebook page that she "has gay friends," so this isn't about discriminating against someone for being gay. Instead, she claims that her religious convictions are what give her the right to make this discriminatory decision. Apparently she never got the concept that her religious freedom isn't supposed to be used to stifle the rights of others. Her response also rings similar to those who say "they have black friends" so aren't racist. And you know what to think about those kinds of comments, right?
Like 'Sweet Cakes by Melissa,' this flower shop is making a mistake that is already showing to be on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of human decency. Discriminating against others when you provide a public commodity is not only bad for the environment of a community, but it's bad for business. Will Barronelle Stuzman learn a valuable lesson from this poor business decision, or does her religious conviction blind her to even the financial reality tied to what has happened?