Freedom is under attack.
I seem to be in the minority (I know... big shock) in my support for the Tri-Cities florist who says her Christian faith is the reason she will not provide the flowers for a gay wedding.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bob Ferguson came on my show to explain why he is bringing a lawsuit on behalf of the state of Washington against Arlene's Flowers. Ferguson says it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.
Now, we have also heard the florist's defense - and I find it to be quite compelling. I talked with Justin Bristol - the attorney for Arlene's Flowers. He says their defense will be based on Article 1, Section 11 of the Washington State Constitution. Which reads as follows:
Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.
Can anyone make a case that the refusal to sell flowers for a gay wedding is an "act of licentiousness" or threatens the "peace and safety of the state"? If not, then this florist must be allowed her freedom of conscience that is protected by our state constitution.
The complaint alleges that Arlene's did not sell flowers to this couple because they are gay. The attorney says that is absolutely not true. They have been long-time clients of Arlene's and she has never had an issue with their sexual orientation. But to force the florist to spend her time and artistic talent to participate in a civil ceremony that she doesn't believe in - is the state overstepping its authority.
If a heterosexual couple came in and asked her to do flowers for their gay son's wedding and she refused, would that be discrimination against a straight couple?
She is not discriminating against homosexuality. She is following her conscience regarding a ceremony that she believes violates her faith.
The attorney cited a comment in the Stranger where a web designer said if he was approached by Mars Hill Church to work for them, he would refuse. Do you think the attorney general would file a lawsuit and issue a press release to announce he was going after that web designer?
Of course not.
If Westboro Baptist orders flowers for their picketing of a child's funeral, will the AG file suit against that florist who refuses?
The lawsuit is looking more and more like nothing but political grandstanding.
For all those who disagree, please read the constitutional article above and explain how the state can force florist Baronelle Stutzman of Arlene's Flowers to violate her conscience on this issue.
One of the great failings of our educational system is the number of people who believe the United States is a democracy.
We are a constitutional republic. Our rights that are guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions cannot be trampled by the opinion of politicians or by the mob mentality of the politically correct who dominate our region.