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Lawsuits Against Richland Florist May Combine

Monday Oct 7, 2013

RICHLAND, WASH. - A Benton County Superior Court judge is expected to decide this week whether to combine two lawsuits against the Richland flower shop owner who refused service for a same-sex wedding.

A lawyer for Arlene's Flowers and shop owner Barronelle Stutzman argued Friday the lawsuits should be consolidated.

KVEW reports ( Stutzman's attorney says the same facts would be presented at both trials and consolidating would save time and money.

In March, Stutzman refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, saying it would violate her religious beliefs.

The Kennewick gay couple is suing Stutzman with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union for discrimination. She's also being sued by the state attorney general's office for violating consumer protection law.

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  • vbbuilt, 2013-10-07 21:15:24

    I’m with Lost, to a degree. Businesses are owned by private citizens and are entitled to their opinions. But they are selling to the public and most adhere to the law. I suspect that part of the problem with Richland, is that did not divulge their beliefs until AFTER they entered into discussions with that couple. Where I diverge a bit, is that these businesses should clearly state their beliefs in advertizing, i.e. "We believe in the Biblical definition of marriage" Something simple like that, nothing more, nothing less. What that does is put their beliefs out there in public. If I were shopping for wedding floral arrangements for my self and I approached a shop with that belief statement on their website and in their storefront, I’d simply change my mind and find another business to patronize. It saves "face" in this manner. And preserves dignity for both parties. There’s nothing to be gained in acrimonious dispute. Richland is never going to change their opinion and unfortunately, their resistance will become more entrenched. Thanks for listening, Vince in Leesburg.

  • , 2013-10-09 02:19:57

    If private business owners have the right to refuse service, lets test that. If the only grocery store within 100 miles didn’t want to sell groceries to the black people down the street, is that ok? If the pharmacy didn’t want to dispense cancer treatment drugs to a woman, because she’s a woman, is that ok? If a horrible natural disaster happens, is it ok for the store owner to refuse to sell a case of bottled water to someone because they’re Asian?

  • BlondieSL, 2013-10-09 13:29:15

    I RE-READ MY POST ABOVE. Sorry for all the typos. Further proof that EDGE needs to fix the Android app, where you enter your post. The dang thing, while not causing typos, per say, can’t wrap around the screen if a word ends at the right and you hit a space. It won’t wrap on space. Which is why I end up adding ..... then the next word, then go back and try to remove the ...... But that’s awkward and then I tend to miss the "auto corrected" words. I’ve emailed EDGE on this 2 or 3 times now, but it appears to fall on deaf ears. >:/ So here’s the above post, corrected as I’m on the main webpage right now.********************** I think of a few points are being missed here. There seems to be confusion about what rights a business has to refuse service. Example. A guy walks into your business and starts causing trouble. You have the right to refuse service. A person walks into your business who is African American or Gay, as an example. You do not have the right to refuse service to him or her simply because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. That is the defining line. We need laws like this to protect people from the multitude of bigots out there. If we did not, then African Americans would still be sitting at the back of buses and drinking from their own fountain and Gay people would still be sneaking around at night to find a meeting place. If you want to own a business, you have to put aside your personal beliefs when one’s beliefs are bigoted, racist or homophobic. If we want to have a progressive civilization we simply need to force people to behave in a civilized manner. Left to their own, many just won’t treat others equally. That’s just the reality. Too many people only think of their rights, as being all above others. This is exactly why we need laws to protect people that they feel superior over.

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