The 70-year-old grandmother who owns a flower shop in Washington state and became a national figure for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding says she was surprised her actions gained such notoriety and had often done business with the gay couple, whom she considered friends.
Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene's Flowers refused the couple in 2013, and her actions were among the first in what has become a nationwide quandary for bakers and others who believe same-sex marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs.
"I'm a little grain of sand," Stutzman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview ....One not likely to produce a pearl, in this case (as in, for those of a certain age, 'Why don't you make a federal case out of it?').
She said she was friendly with customers Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, and often sold them flowers. But when they sought to buy wedding flowers, she drew a line based on her faith.
"Rob and I had been friends for years and I waited on him and designed fun things," she said. "We had a great relationship until the government stepped in."And if the government hadn't interfered, they might still be friends. We'll never know, but surely tempting one citizen (or group) to force another to violate their deeply felt religious beliefs--Ms Stutzman believes marriage is a sacrament--isn't a recipe for social peace.
Which is why the U.S. constitution contains a clause guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Guaranteed for blacks, whites, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians.... As well as for both hetero and homo sexuals. That way no one gets to force anyone else to do things their way. And it's peaceful in such countries.
And it's nicer too.