People should be able to be with the people they love. No question. That’s their right as free people. This is coded in the US Constitution as well through the 1st Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So it is an individual’s right that has been coded and protected by law. This right also guarantees the person the right to reject anyone he doesn’t want to associate with, which is why I find this story appalling. This is a case where the rights of two gay men are judged to be privileged to the rights of a business owner.
A Washington state Superior Court Judge, Alex Ekstrom, ruled that Baronelle Stutzman violated “anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws” when she refused to do fulfill their request for flowers at the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. She refused them because she believes marriage to be a sacrament, a sacred vow reserved for a man and a woman who are capable of biological procreation. “Stutzman had argued that the tenets of her “Southern Baptist tradition” precluded her from arranging flowers for same-sex weddings, or to allow any of her employees to do so.” The story is a little more complicated than that.
Stutzman had actually served Ingersoll previously on twenty separate occasions. “According to court documents, Stutzman had served Ingersoll at least 20 times before and was aware that he was gay. But her shop, Arlene’s Flowers, could not provide the flower arrangements for his wedding because doing so would have constituted a demonstration of approval for the wedding itself, she said.”
“’I just put my hands on his and told him because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I couldn’t do that, couldn’t do his wedding,’” Stutzman said in a deposition. It was the only wedding Stutzman had turned down in 37 years.”
Judge Ekstrom did write “Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” the judge wrote.” Perhaps. But which laws prevail in Washington–state laws or law of the land?
The Daily Caller points out how this is not a lawsuit to rectify an injustice. This is a lawsuit used by one privileged group to punish a member of a less privileged group. “A Washington grandmother and florist of 40 years who refused to service gay weddings because of her faith will now be forced to arrange flowers for gay ceremonies, a judge ruled Wednesday. On top of that, the woman, Barronelle Stutzman, will have to pay the legal penalties imposed by the judge as well as attorney’s fees.” This lawsuit will destroy her business. And these gentlemen had no problem getting flowers they wanted for their wedding by going to another florist. How about that–they had choices from the very beginning of their “ordeal”!
Lew Rockwell’s point is well taken, “In the US, an owner’s property rights count for nothing against the demands of an official pressure group. So a Washington [state] grandmother who wouldn’t sell flowers for a gay wedding is being looted. Indeed, for exercising her freedom of choice, she is being destroyed.”