Among the latest to come out of the so called “same-sex marriage” debate is the religious persecution of Barronelle Stutzman for declining to make flower arrangements for a “same-sex wedding.” For her “crime,” the judge’s decision will essentially put her out of business. She is appealing the case. You can read more about it at the following links:
State Says 70-Year-Old Flower Shop Owner Discriminated Against Gay Couple. Here’s How She Responded. – Kelsey Harkness (The Daily Signal)
A Florist Loses Religious Freedom, and Much More – Denny Burke (CNN)
Plea for Sanity – Mike Wittmer
In the first post, the homosexual couple is quoted as saying, “We respect everyone’s beliefs, but businesses that are open to the public have an obligation to serve everyone.” Stutzman replied, “I did serve Rob. It’s the event that I turned down, not the service for Rob or his partner.”
In the third post, Mike Wittmer suggests this idea as sensible middle ground: “Any business must serve any person, but it must not be required to serve every act.” Read his post for his explanation.
I’d like to key off both Stutzman’s and Wittmer’s statements, and suggest: Any business must serve any person, but it is not required to offer every product or service. This, it seems to me, is just common sense.
I have worked for several Christian bookstores, and we sold Christian books. We didn’t sell Muslim books or New Age books – just Christian books. And different stores drew the line differently on what constituted a Christian book. We willingly served any customer who came, but only with the products that that particular store sold.
Recently our local grocery store stopped selling a delicious chocolate candy bar that my family really enjoyed. They are still willing to serve us; they just won’t sell us that product that we want. This is not discrimination; it is simply a business choosing what to sell and what not to sell.
I suggest we extend the same courtesy to florists, bakeries, and photographers. They must serve everyone, but they are not required to offer every product or service. They must (and should happily) serve homosexuals because they are human beings. But they can choose what services or products they offer. They might choose not to do any weddings. They might specialize in “same-sex weddings” if that is their choice. They might specialize in “traditional” weddings if that is their choice.
And it should be their choice. The government should not take it upon itself to tell businesses what products and services they must offer.
Any business must serve any person, but it is not required to offer every product or service. Here is a necessary distinction that I hope our nation will grasp. The alternative will be continued religious persecution in a country founded, ironically, for religious (not sexual) freedom.