Floral shunning

And right here in Washington state – a florist joins this fun new trend of florists refusing to supply customers they dislike or disagree with in some way. Remember that florist who refused to deliver roses to Jessica Ahlquist? And got sued by the FFRF as a result? Like that. This time it’s not freedom from religion, it’s gay marriage.

For nearly a decade, Robert Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, had bought bouquets from local business Arlene’s Flower Shop, owned by Barronelle Stutzman, reports the Tri-City Herald. So it was Stutzman the men sought out when they recently decided to get married. (Same-sex weddings became legal in Washington State in December 2012.)

But when Ingersoll asked Stutzman last Friday to arrange the flowers for his September nuptials, he got a shock.

“He said he decided to get married, and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’” Stutzman told KEPR. This is the only wedding Stutzman has turned down in 37 years.

She has a relationship with a guy who died two thousand years ago, assuming he lived at all – and for the sake of that relationship, she spits in the eye of someone right in front of her, who has been her loyal customer for nearly a decade.

First, do no harm. If you find yourself spitting in someone’s eye, think hard about your reasons. Hint: an arbitrary belief about what some long-dead guy would think about a contemporary practice is not likely to be a good reason.


  1. Claire Ramsey says

    I guess Jesus told her it was OK for her to take their money for the last ten years, but then got in a snit about flowers for a wedding? What an ignorant capitalist. And she had the nerve to actually touch her gay ex-customer. I guess Baby Jesu will clean off the cooties.

  2. Scr... Archivist says

    Robert Ingersoll? I’ve heard that name somewhere before….

    I do have to wonder what that particular long-dead guy would think about this situation.

  3. Bjarte Foshaug says

    If you find yourself spitting in someone’s eye, think hard about your reasons.

    I like how Daniel Dennett puts it:

    We need to change the prevailing assumptions in the same way that public opinion has been reversed on drunk driving. When I was young, drunk drivers tended to be excused because, after all, they were drunk! Today, happily, we hold them doubly culpable for any misdeeds they commit while under the influence.

    I look forward to the day when violence done under the influence of religious passion is considered more dishonorable, more shameful, than crimes of avarice, and is punished accordingly, and religious leaders who incite such acts are regarded with the same contempt that we reserve for bartenders who send dangerously disabled people out onto the highways.

    And it’s not limited to criminal deeds. The same goes for every act of intolerance and discrimination that would be considered inexcusable in the absence of unjustified beliefs. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and those who take their bigotry out on their fellow human beings should certainly not be considered any less culpable if they are also guilty of leaving the most important questions in life up to blind faith.

  4. says

    Washington is one of the states that makes this a civilly actionable offense: RCW 49.60.030.

    The shop owner admitted, in numerous public interviews, that she was in willful violation of the couple’s civil rights because of their sexual orientation. She will be going down.

  5. says

    They do have a Facebook page, and are in clear violation of the Anderson-Murray anti-discrimination law enacted by Washington in 2006. Thanks for the tip, Ophelia!

  6. says

    When someone you’re in a relationship with starts dictating to you who you can and can’t associate with it’s time to dump them.

  7. yazikus says

    Props to the local activists who brought attention to this travesty. Still what an awful experience for the couple to go through. I recently witnessed an event that brought together a lovely same sex couple and their baby, and an older conservative christian couple. Guess which couple acted more christlike. It really clarified for me how awful and insidious this kind of bigotry is.

  8. carlie says

    If she really adheres to her beliefs, she will refund the couple all of the money she’s made off of them for the last decade. That’s tainted money, according to her.

  9. jmb says

    So she would be okay with every business in her town refusing to serve HER because bigotry was against THEIR beliefs, right?

  10. says

    “I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’”

    What a Judas type of character the florist was, insofar that she grabbed the hand of the one she was going to eventually betray. The ambivalence of it…I can just visualise Ingersoll’s jaw dropping, as she clung on to him, to give him the bad news.

    The flowers were for a wedding of ‘a relationship’ between two people, but the florist had to sidetrack that – on top of the disappointment – by going on about her own’ relationship’ with Jesus Christ.

    Yes, it is indeed ‘tainted money’ that her business earned for the last ten years.

    Shunning humans is a form of psychological torture, and that has been inflicted on the couple for religious reasons. Despicable.

  11. And How says

    ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’”

    She better hope that relationship with Jesus is strong enough that he is willing to help her out with her legal bills. 🙂

    She needs to be prosecuted. Period.


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