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MARRIAGE: State officials owe florist an apology

Letter by Beth Woodbury Hart, Puyallup on April 18, 2013 at 10:25 am | No Comments »
April 18, 2013 10:25 am

Re: “Sides rally support after florist refuses gay couple” (TNT, 4-12).

The Richland florist case isn’t just about freedom of religion. It’s about state officials imposing an unfair burden on conservative Christians working in the wedding industry.

It is reasonable for the state to expect retailers to sell their goods to the general public without regard to the ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientations of their customers. It is not reasonable to expect vendors to provide goods or services for events that are inconsistent with their goals or values.

Artists, entrepreneurs and independent contractors have the right to choose the conditions under which they work and the venues where they display their products. While Arlene’s Flowers is (I assume) a retail shop, the owner is acting as a contractor when she does a private event like a wedding or a funeral.

State officials do not have the authority to coerce people into contributing their talents to particular rituals, ceremonies or celebrations. And they certainly don’t have the right to punish people for articulating their beliefs! This is the United States of America, not China, North Korea or the Islamic Empire.

We don’t have to account to the government – or to the ACLU – for every personal or business decision. The so-called “justice officials” of this state are way out of line, and they owe the florist an apology.

 

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