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Washington (State)

Florist refuses gay couple’s wedding due to her ‘relationship with Jesus Christ’

AG statement: 'Washington’s anti-discrimination law would not allow the florist to discriminate against the same-sex couple'
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RICHLAND Wash. — A flower shop in Washington state has refused to provide flowers for the wedding of a gay couple, who had been using her services for years, because of her “relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Robert Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, of Kennewick, Wash., said that Barronelle Stuzman, the owner of Arelene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., told them she could not provide services for their wedding because marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“Rob came into the store and was talking about getting married. I told him because of my relationship with Jesus Christ that I couldn’t do his wedding,” said Stuzman, who also posted her statement on Facebook.

Ingersoll said he respects Stuzman’s views, but is shocked the subject never came up in the nine years that he and his partner have been customers at the store, even sending flowers to each other.

But Stuzman insists she does not discriminate against same-sex couples or any group for that matter, reported KNDO-TV.

“We hire gay people. I have friends that are gay, that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage,” she said.

Ingersoll said he is not yet sure what he’ll do in the future, and has been contacted by several attorneys including the ACLU.

A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office told the Tri-City Herald that Washington state law doesn’t allow discrimination based on sexual orientation as long as the same service is provided to a straight couple.

“Washington’s anti-discrimination law would not allow the florist to discriminate against the same-sex couple,” the office said in a statement. “If they sell wedding flowers to any other opposite sex couple, they must sell flowers to a same-sex couple.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state in December after voters approved a November ballot referendum that affirmed a marriage equality bill passed by the Legislature in February 2012 and signed by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The marriage equality law exempts religious organizations from having to perform same-sex weddings, but doesn’t allow the same exemptions for businesses.

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Filed under: Washington (State)

70 more reader comments:

  1. boycott

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:51pm
  2. Why is it that people use this Jesus to be a jackass? As for flowers, take the business elsewhere.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:51pm
  3. lol…. that’s so stupid rofl

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:52pm
  4. Hey Lady, don’t blame Jesus.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:52pm
  5. My relationship with Jesus would encourage me to behave the exact opposite of this florist. It’s my relationship with some of his followers that I struggle with.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:53pm
  6. Pretty stupid reason. Is she really gonna refuse a sale because of what her RELIGION says?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:54pm
  7. Jesus has to be upset with folks using him as an excuse for hate.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:54pm
  8. You can’t really blame her for this one. It conflicts with her religious beliefs. In her eyes, God is the most important being in the universe. More important than doing this for this couple. There are plenty of florists out there. They should just find another. She’s not right for it, but I can see why she would do it.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:54pm
  9. Wow :(

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:54pm
  10. Jesus needs to figure out why he keeps attracting all these nut jobs.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:55pm
  11. so they dont do Jewish weddings either? What about fornicators? 2nd marriages?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:55pm
  12. Oh…she can have a relationship with a dead man and a couple can’t have flowers???? I’m scared!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:56pm
  13. I’d take a dump in that flower shop.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:56pm
  14. omg run for the hills, her flowers are filled with demons!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:56pm
  15. thats just one example of the discrimination that gay people have every day look at the boy scouts that kids they kicked out was fine to be in the scouts till he came out as gay

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:56pm
  16. Good for her. I hope the Christians spend as much as we do.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:56pm
  17. that’s crazy

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:57pm
  18. Oh please, get another florist. Why support business that supports prejudiced.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:57pm
  19. Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:58pm
  20. i’d throw a bunch of crickets in that flower shop……the jerks!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:58pm
  21. Stupid bitch. Jesus would be appalled.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:58pm
  22. She is a big ashole fuck her flower, she probably Seve the flower for her funeral, she needs your money you don’t need her flowers

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:59pm
  23. then spread the word and make sure they go broke and lose all their customers. worthless humans using this jesus myth as an excuse for being asshole.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:59pm
  24. I’m sure Jesus appreciates her stance on the issue (sarcasm).

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:02pm
  25. She said she doesn’t discriminate. hahaha!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:02pm
  26. Tell that Bitch to shove her religious belief up her rear end and quit being a discriminating Bigot.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:03pm
  27. And the florist is the one passing judgment. Which is exactly what Jesus said not to do.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:03pm
  28. How in the hell are you going to be a florist and refuse to do a wedding? They must not want to make any money then…

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:04pm
  29. boycott Arlene’s Flowers – find a gay florist and give them your business – never give money to gay bashing thugs

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:04pm
  30. It is completely ignorant why this woman would do what she did. Fine the woman does not want to participate in the wedding ceremony, but no one was asking her to be the flower girl. They just wanted her to arrange the flowers. Furthermore, whether it was a sin or not she should have actually followed what her “Jesus” would have done by doing his greatest commandment. Love thy neighbor as thyself, there is no great commandment than this. Mark 12:31. Not to mention the woman is nothing more than a Pharisee, because what were those ppl doing but complaining about Jesus sitting and communing with the sinners. Idiotic and Ignorant ppl that just want to blame Christ for their own bigotry.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:05pm
  31. Umm how come every one is hating on her just like the couple was hated on ? Just move on an stop bitching !!!! Your doing what she did an spreading the hate , oh wtf am I saying screw her :p

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:05pm
  32. Hope your flowers die and your business goes straight to HELL,

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:07pm
  33. This Jesus bloke would be appalled if he knew (or existed)

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:08pm
  34. My question is: Why would they go to a straight florist?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:11pm
  35. wow

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:12pm
  36. My moneys green like everyone elses if she its not willing to accept it just move on too someone who will..why make an isue out of it.? its her problem for being a bigot not the brides..someone tell me its really 2013 boycot..gzzz.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:13pm
  37. Every time I hear the “its not bigotry, I have gay friends” excuse I want to stab a donkey in the stomache

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:14pm
  38. Problem
    Solve. Ignore the negative and move on!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:15pm
  39. She said she didn’t want to participate in their marriage. You weren’t invited B*&tch. You were to provide flowers. Nothing more. Aren’t you the center of the world.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:16pm
  40. hate to say this, but she has a right to turn down a customer, she is still an idiot and a bigot though. From a financial standpoint alone she is missing out on a lot of potential income.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:16pm
  41. Christians suck

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:17pm
  42. Its actually great whenever places like these reveal their true colors, that way we know which places to not go.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:17pm
  43. Bitch. Carry on….

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:21pm
  44. This is something we’re reading about every few weeks-bakers,venues..time to add a florist to the bunch. I’m truly beginning to think that these bigots are realizing that they can ride the wave of media attention, and therefore,(sadly)end up with lines of new customers who now make an effort to support “their brave stance”… I get a “gay” yellow pages every year at Pride-I know which companies I want to give my hard earned $$ to…

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:25pm
  45. Matthew in Washington she doesn’t have the right to turn them away, it’s discriminating and against the law.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:25pm
  46. Seriously???

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:28pm
  47. If you are in Salt Lake and need flowers, use The English Garden – they are openly welcome and affirming and nice as hell! Tell them Annette sent you – so there you bigots!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:29pm
  48. WWJD, Wash their feet, then give them a glass of wine with fish. Then Mary of
    Magdalene would show up for lyric in dance and everyone would laugh and then they would be blessed . Then after leaving the business they look at each other and say ‘Isn’t JC Hot let’s invite him to the Weeding.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:31pm
  49. Huh… Sounds to me like HER relationship is the problem…

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:31pm
  50. Thou shall not judge only God can do that. Thou shall treat others how they want to be treated. Haha rightttttt

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:34pm
  51. Well,Well Like my parents think I need to be witha woman. Have Mercy Lord! #stressful

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:35pm
  52. Guess they do not want to make any money for their business :/

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:40pm
  53. What happened here..WA state

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:40pm
  54. They have the right to use faith as a reason to not serve someone, AND EVERYONE ELSE HAS THE RIGHT TO USE A LGBT FRIENDLY FLORIST!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 2:45pm
  55. I am tired of people saying she has a right to refuse….there would have been hell to pay if she refused a black couple

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:03pm
  56. Let me get this straight – she has this relationship with an imaginary being and because of that she can’t stomach love between two real beings? Has anyone checked to make sure she’s not smoking her own daffodils?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:26pm
  57. Yeah like Jesus refused to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors. Liar! People throw the name of Jesus around and don’t even know him. Matthew 21:31 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:39pm
  58. It’s funny. I’d like to put what Jesus said about gays in the Bible, the only problem is, He didn’t say anything at all.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:44pm
  59. She has no relationship with Jesus Christ or she wouldn’t act this way since Jeus Christ commanded Christians not to judge one another but to love others as ourselves and Jesus Christ never condemned gays. She is nothing but a lowlife bigoted hypocrite trying to misuse religion to justify her disgusting behaviour.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:55pm
  60. It’s cute that these people think that hiding behind Jesus/The bible will make them look like less of an asshole.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:59pm
  61. Another bigot that talks the talk of Jesus and walks in helll.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:29pm
  62. I had a personal, physical relationship with Jesus until he stole my sweater.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:33pm
  63. Jesus ate, slept and lived with common rejects of his time…. hmmm.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:33pm
  64. Jesus wouldn’t shop at this Florist….

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:39pm
  65. If I could, I’d start my own bakery/florist shop/wedding consultation office so I can be there for the LGBT couples looking to wed. Unfortunately, I could never afford to go to school for it…these kinds of religious people are truly assholes, not because they believe in something, but because they pick out the parts that make them feel safe, despite the effect it has on others. It never ceases to sadden me to see what they will do to all living things in this life in a desperate, misguided attempt to feel that they have secured their place in the next life of their respective doctrines. Stripping people of their rights to appease a deity that not everybody believes in or shares the same interpretation of is not a respectable move at all. Everybody deserves a chance to be happy.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:54pm
  66. Boycott this florist,what would JC say, he would not mind if you were gay!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 4:56pm
  67. And this harms her relationship with Jesus how?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:08pm
  68. Use the LGBT yellow pages and support our own businesses.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:28pm
  69. Well, sounds like she had NO PROBLEM taking her money for YEARS, seems like she needed some free advertising shame on her and using Jesus as an excuse for this????

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:43pm
  70. Her right to refuse service, but she then also accepts the repercussions, especially when gays stop using her store for their floral needs. Enjoy what little time you have left in business, madame.

    Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:24pm