Rob Ingersoll and his partner have been using the same florist, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, in their home of Richland, Washington for years, but now that they are engaged to be wed, Stutzman says she can’t do the wedding. Her explanation for denying them service was her “relationship with Jesus Christ,” as she explained to NBC Right Now (KNDO):
STUTZMAN: And I just took his hands and I said I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ… 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. [...]
Because of public outcry, Stutzman posted a response on the Facebook page for Arlene’s Flowers:
Since that day, we have received many comments on same sex marriages. I believe, biblically, that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is my conviction, yours may be different.
I have hired all walks of people in different circumstances, and had the privilege of working with some very talented people that happen to be gay.
I’m sure there are many places you can purchase flowers, if you choose not to purchase them from Arlene’s, because of your beliefs, then I certainly understand.
Watch a clip of her interview with KNDO:
Though he was extremely hurt by her rejection, Ingersoll expressed his regret for posting about it because he does say he respects her right to her views. Numerous attorneys have reached out to him because she blatantly violated Washington’s laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. (HT: The Advocate.)