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Bill would let businesses discriminate against gays

21528621_BG1OLYMPIA — Several Republican lawmakers say a Richland florist had the right to refuse working for a gay wedding. That florist is being sued by the Washington State Attorney General and the ACLU.

Now several Washington state Republicans are pushing a bill that would exempt business owners from being required to provide services if it’s against their faith. That bill was introduced in the state Senate on Thursday by bill sponsor Senator Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick.

Senate bill 5927 would grant businesses and individuals “the right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, philosophical belief, or matter of conscience.”

The bill comes after State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit in early April against Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts of Richland, Wash., for refusing to provide wedding flowers for a same-sex marriage ceremony.

The Attorney General’s Office said that on March 1, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, refused to provide wedding flowers to longtime customer Robert Ingersoll based on her opposition to same-sex marriage.

Ferguson sent a letter to Stutzman on March 28 requesting she reconsider her position and sign an agreement indicating her intention to comply with Washington laws. Stutzman’s attorneys responded Monday and said that Stutzman would challenge any state action to enforce the law.

“As attorney general, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington,” Ferguson said in a news release. “Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation. If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service.”

The Senate bill was introduced yesterday and has been referred to the Law & Justice Committee for further review.

The Seattle Human Rights Commission issued the following statement:

 

“The Seattle Human Rights Commission denounces this amendment to the existing bill, as it contravenes the very purpose of the anti-discriminatory law itself, and serves as a poorly disguised tactic to allow individuals to discriminate against members of our LGBT community. The legal obligations of States includes the responsibility to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people, this is well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights treaties. All people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, liberty, security of person (Article 3 UDHR) and privacy (Article 12 UDHR), the right to receive equal protection under the law and be free from discrimination (Article 7, UDHR), and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly (Article 19).”

8 comments

  • guest

    Thank GOD! This makes me so happy! For all those who believe, keep fighting the good fight to stand behind your beliefs that marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN!

  • NAVYTOWN

    What will keep people belonging to white supremacist religions from refusing to serve minorities?
    Muslim shop owners could refuse to serve Jews. Where will it end? The 1964 Civil Rights Act addressed the problem of white restaurant owners refusing to serve blacks. Do we REALLY want to go back to that sort of thing? And why is it always CHRISTIANS to love to demonize folks who don't believe the way they do???? So a customer is gay…..what's really the problem???

    • guest

      Nothing to do about Christianity. It the plain and simple fact that I believe, and well many others believe, that marriage is a sacred unity between man and woman.There you go, not hiding behind any kind of religous shield what so ever. Now with that said, you wanna go marry someone of the same gender, well go right ahead, but I, and or we, dont need to approve of it and certainly have the right to not support it, which means not provding services based upon that. As far as it goes for you "Navytown", I read alot of the articles on the news and I see you posting on here ALOT. get off the computer and get a life! Just sayin :)

    • redeemed

      People can't choose their ethnicity when they are born, but they can choose their behaviors.
      Gay people can marry, if they find someone of the opposite sex. So they aren't being denied any rights. You can't force people to accept their behavior as normal, it is not normal behavior it is abnormal and will never equate to the same standing as a normal heterosexual relationship where the physiology of one's body is used properly and not against the very design of nature. To force folks to accept what nature rejects is absurd. The 1964 Civil Rights act did not forbid business owners their right to refuse service. It address public institutions enabling racism.

  • JeanBurlamaqui

    All members of society are interested in the due observance of the Laws of Nature, hence they have all a right to praise or condemn another man's actions according as they are conformable or contrary to these laws. They have even a kind of obligation in this respect, lest men be wanting in their duty to society and to individuals, were they not to testify, at least by their approbation or censure, the esteem they have for probity and virtue, and their aversion, on the contrary, to iniquity and vice.

    1)Same-sex marriage is not a useful law, as of itself does not tend to the preservation and perfection of mankind.

    2)Same-sex marriage is not a just law, as it does not conform to the will of the supreme legislator; whether that be called “God” or “Evolution”.

    3)Same-sex marriage is not an honest law, as it is not conformable to the maxims of right reason, agreeable to the dignity of our nature, deserving of the approbation of man, and consequently, no respect and honor to the person that does it.

    Those who take part in same-sex marriage are well acquainted with the Laws of Nature which they ought to follow, but they see themselves as their own judges leaving their whims and passions left unchecked, and they understand no obligation to contain themselves within the limits of that regard and respect which they owe to civil society, the tranquility of families, and the happiness of children. They deem themselves the arbiter of their own actions, having a right to being the judge themselves, both of Natural and Civil Laws, and of the manner in which they ought to apply them. This independence and excessive liberty must only be productive of disorder and confusion anytime there happens to be a clashing of their interests and passions with civil society.

    Liberty, under which we must comprehend all the most valuable enjoyments, has two enemies in civil society. The first is licentiousness and confusion; and the second is oppression arising from tyranny. The first of those evils arises from liberty itself, when it is not kept within due bounds. The second is owing to the remedy which mankind have contrived against the former evil. As laws permitting or encouraging homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage do not conform to the Laws of Nature, they are not just laws to the conscience of virtuous men, thereby; tyranny becomes the legislator, oppression the enforcer.

    Same-sex marriage proponents are the vicious oppressors. They are the bigots who through their own prideful prejudices seek vengeance; whether it be by slandering anyone with whom they disagree by labeling them a “homophobe”, demanding the criminalization of anyone who refuses them service, mandatory indoctrination of our youth by the State, or the destruction of religious charities and institutions; their agenda violates the very maxims of Natural Law leaving them only legislative oppression as their only justification.

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