A landscaper in Atlanta recently denied services to a gay couple after calling their marriage “perverse and foolish” and a delusion.”
The couple decided to leave a negative review on Yelp, writing: “Contacted today about a very large project in Sandy Springs. The owner asked if the work was for me and my wife, I said no me and my husband and he replied that he wouldn’t be interested in working with us.”
After the couple went public with the issue, the owner, Stuart Dinenno of Botanica Atlanta Landscape Design, dug in deeper by responding to their negative Yelp review.
He said in response to their claim, “Yes, this is an accurate description of what happened. When doing a large landscaping project it is necessary to work with the homeowners closely over several months through the design and installation phases.”
Dinenno stood by his reasoning to deny services to the couple.
“I can’t do that, all the while going along with the delusion of two men calling themselves a married couple, with one man referring to the other man as his husband,” Dinenno said. “It’s very perverse and foolish, and needs to be called out as such.”
One use named Tyler S. from the Cabbagetown area responded, “Botanica Atlanta Landscape Design thought it was okay to not only carry the believe that two men that are in love are not only delusional of their matrimony, but evidently not deserving of landscaping services as a result. AND the owner of this business solidified that believe and policy in the form of a retaliatory Yelp review response. It’s disgusting, quite frankly.”
He summed up, “Therefore, I cannot safely recommend this business to anyone. There’s no telling whether you will receive their services anyway, since who they serve and do business with is contingent on fleeting, bigoted beliefs. But in the event you’re in the market for landscaping services, my suggestion is that you take that business elsewhere.”
Will Kohler at Back2Stonewall reported, “Georgia has some of the weakest civil rights protections for our citizens in the nation. Georgia has no law that prevents private employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee’s race; no law that prevents local businesses from refusing service to patrons because of their religion; and no law preventing landowners from refusing to rent or sell to our citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In Atlanta, it is illegal to deny services to anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Atlanta is the only municipality in the state with such protections.