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Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson disagreed, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers. The ACLU also sued on behalf of the customer, Robert Ingersoll, who has said Stutzman’s refusal “really hurt, because it was someone I knew.”

Among conservative Christians, Stutzman has become a byword - part cautionary tale and part cause celebre.

Websites call her a freedom fighter. Tributes fill Arlene’s Facebook page. Donations to her legal defense fund pour in from as far away as Texas and Arkansas.

“For some reason, her case has made a lot of people of faith worry,” said Stutzman’s lawyer, Dale Schowengerdt of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

Those anxieties have only increased, conservative Christians say, since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to gay marriage in California.

Taking a line from Justice Antonin Scalia's sharp dissent, Southern Baptist scholar Albert Mohler said it’s only a matter of time "before the other shoe drops" – and the high court legalizes same-sex marriage from coast to coast.

“Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response,” Mohler wrote on Wednesday.

“We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.”

His fellow Southern Baptist Russell Moore put the matter more succinctly.

“Same-sex marriage is coming to your community.”

`The debate is over'

Well before the Supreme Court’s rulings, many conservative Christians said they saw the writing - or the poll numbers - on the wall.

Survey after survey shows increasing support for same-sex marriage, especially among young Americans. That includes many religious believers.

Most Catholics and mainline Protestants, not to mention many Jews, support same-sex relationships, according to surveys. The bells of Washington National Cathedral pealed in celebration on Thursday.

Even among those who oppose gay marriage, many think it’s a losing battle.

Seventy percent of white evangelicals believe that legal recognition for gay nuptials is inevitable, according to a June poll by the Pew Research Center, though just 22 percent favor it.

“The gay marriage debate is over,” said Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical writer on faith and culture. “Statistically, all the numbers move in one direction.”

Young Christians have grown up in a far more diverse culture than their forebears, Merritt noted, and many have befriended gays and lesbians.

Pew found that more than 90 percent of Americans overall personally know someone who is gay or lesbian, a 30 percent increase since 1993.

“It’s far easier to wage war against an agenda than it is to battle a friend,” Merritt said.

At the same time, many conservative young Christians say they’re weary of the culture wars, and of seeing their communities labeled “judgmental.”

When Christian researchers at the Barna Group asked Americans aged 16-29 what words best describe Christianity, the top response was “anti-homosexual.” That was true of more than 90 percent of non-Christians and 80 percent of churchgoers, according to Barna.

Tired of being told the country is slouching toward Gomorrah, many young Christians have simply tuned out the angry prophets of earlier generations, evangelical leaders say.

“The shrill angry voices of retrenchment are no longer getting a broad hearing either in the culture at large or in the evangelical community,” Merritt said.

But the battle over same-sex marriage is far from over, said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

“I don’t believe most Christians are going to give up the fight,” said Brown, who is Catholic. He said his movement includes many young evangelical and Orthodox Christians.

“And they are more energized than ever.”

Love thy gay neighbors

Energized or not, conservative Christians must prepare for the moral dilemmas posed by the country’s growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, said Moore, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Is Your Church Ready for the Marriage Revolution?” Moore asked, while promoting a special session on homosexuality at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Houston in June.

Many evangelical pastors have seen homosexuality as a distant culture-war battle that’s fought far from the doors of the churches, Moore said.

Now, it’s as close as their front pews.

“I think it’s not so much that churches haven’t wanted to talk about it,” he said, “but they haven’t recognized how much the culture has changed around them.”

The first step, said Moore, is learning to defend traditional marriage without demonizing gays and lesbians.

Walking through Washington’s Union Station last Thursday, Moore said he saw several lesbian couples kissing in celebration of the Supreme Court rulings.

“If we can’t empathize with what’s going on in their hearts and minds, we’re not going to be able to love and respect them.”

Then come a host of secondary questions: How should conservative pastors minister to same-sex couples? Should Christians attend same-sex weddings? Should florists like Barronelle Stutzman's agree to work with gay couples?

`Don't give in' 

Florist Barronelle Stutzman.

In the 17 years she’s owned Arlene’s Flowers, Stutzman said, she’s worked with a number of gay colleagues.

“It really didn’t matter if they were gay, or blue or green, if they were creative and could do the job,” she said.

Stutzman suspects that some of her eight children privately don’t agree with her on homosexuality, even as they publicly support her decision.

Online, Stutzman has been called a bigot, and worse.

She said she’s lost at least two weddings because of her refusal to provide services for the same-sex marriage.

Conservative activists say her case is the first of what will surely be many more, as gay marriage spreads across the country.

As she gets ready to face a judge, the silver-haired florist offered some advice for fellow evangelicals.

“Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. Lycidas

    No evidence that religion is going anywhere, whether it's in the near or far future.
    But if your faith keeps you happy, keep at it.

    June 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  2. Lycidas

    Shouldn't your handle be more accurate as The Final Solution?

    June 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  3. Observer

    lol??,

    Grow up. Bigotry is slowly, but surely dying. Education is winning. Stop crying.

    June 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  4. lol??

    The revolution occurred when the dimwits put da Diverse Beast "in charge" of marriage. Keep up.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  5. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Providing services for a wedding – like flowers or a wedding cake is not an act of religious expression. It is a financial transaction. Goods and services are provided for a price.

    Service providers who refuse service based on orientation are clearly discriminating against a minority. This might not be illegal, but it is nothing to champion.

    I understand the argument. A cake maker might elect not to make a cake designed for naked people to jump out of on 'moral' grounds and they see gay marriage as an equal violation of the Christain rulebook. They can refuse to take business they don't want but it doesn't make them heroes just prudes.

    Civil marriage has nothing to do with sacramental marriage – it just happens to be convenient for those people entering into a sacramental marriage to do the paperwork at the same time. The two are completely separate.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • fred

      Since you brought it up. Is it just gay marriage or can anyone over a certain age marry any other person of choosing of a given age?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      It is illegal, which is the reason she's being charged. As far as her "morals" are concerned. As long as she treats EVERY customer the same way. With the same restrictions, she's OK.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      fred: Stop being an idiot! You have brought up incestuous relationship marriages before and yet you fail to realize that the extremes are different. Being gay/lesbian is normal, being incestuous is not (unless of course it is in the bible...Eve had to have had sex with her son's in order to repopulate). Pull your head out of your ass and join the present day...your bigotry is shining too brightly.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      brought what up? I was talking about florists and bakers.

      You asked "can anyone over a certain age marry any other person of choosing of a given age?"

      What are you asking?

      Marriage can only happen between consenting adults who can both give an informed consent. In all but a few states it is limited to an adult man and an adult woman who are not close relatives. Of course in some states in the deep south you can still marry children who are first cousins but I don't think that's what you are asking.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You know, fred brings this up so frequently that I am beginning to wonder if he's asking about it for a specific reason. Maybe he has his eye on someone MUCH younger...

      June 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • fred

      TruthPrevails ;-(
      Not a bigot. I own a brokerage and had to issue instructions to only accept domestic partnership and ignore the current ruling. You are the bigot I have many people dependent on a relative for financial and medical expense

      June 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's time for a Ghostbusters reference.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ZOKDmorj0&w=640&h=390]

      Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
      Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
      Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
      Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
      Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
      Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

      Yes, everyone is going to marry their pets now.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "I own a brokerage and had to issue instructions to only accept domestic partnership and ignore the current ruling."

      You "had to"? You own a brokerage and you "had to"? Why? Aren't you the boss?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      fred: You are a bigot! I'm in no way a bigot except when it comes to religion. You didn't have to issue such instructions, you did it because you're a bigot! I hope you're taken in front of a court for denying equal rights to all. You don't have the power to over-rule the government.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "I have many people dependent on a relative for financial and medical expense"

      And this is relevant in what way to anything, fred?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Ken Margo,

      Any liquor establishment has the right to refuse services to anyone. Why not a floral establishment?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      From the "marriageable age" page on wikipedia:

      South Carolina: If you are under 18, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and a notarized statement of parental consent. The minimum age for a female is 15 (13 if she is pregnant, has a physician's statement verifying same, and the consent of her parents) and it is 16 for a male.

      Doesn't sound very 'holy' to me to marry off your 13 year-old daughter, but it's A-OK in the Palmetto State.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @lion..............Restaurants/bars do have the right not to serve. ONLY if the customer is a disturbance or if the customer is totally inebriated. You CANNOT refuse someone based on their s3xuality, race etc.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Any liquor establishment has the right to refuse services to anyone. Why not a floral establishment?

      As I said. They can. It doesn't make them heroes, just prejudiced prudes.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV – "It doesn't make them heroes, just prejudiced prudes."

      From my perspective, a more accurate assessment would be, "parochial and unenlightened".

      Cheers

      June 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • fred

      The real Tom
      No, we actually have turned down brothers and sisters if we knew about it so the policy, just like the army, was "don't ask". We look at one thing only a domestic partnership agreement. If they do not have one we only look at the financial relationship and responsibility form and make sure all the boxes are checked. We received calls today from some who wanted to make it "legal". Our reply was that there are no changes to existing contracts at this time.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why in the world would you have to "turn down" a brother and sister who wished to have a joint brokerage account?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Well?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I think fred is looking to get his azz sued.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Still waiting, fred.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Gee, fred, what happened? You had SO much to say earlier. I don't understand why this would be such a difficult question for you to answer.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  6. lol??

    Qweirdos are never satisfied. That can happen from gwowing up in a socie puppy mill.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  7. lol??

    Athena, Diana, and Pandora have ruled.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No Jim, lol??'s posts are all like this. More laughable than anything.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • lol??

      Cool.

      BBbbbbwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha

      June 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  8. lionlylamb

    While I am a Deist and struggle with Christendom, I see gay marriages as a societal condition where many social groups will have to bow down and bite the bullet as a peace offering to yet another cultural classification.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, poor, poor cowardly lion! How sad for you! What a terrible intrusion on your everyday life gay marriage will be! Oh, it's just awful how it will affect everything you do! However will you manage to get through each week what with all the....umm...the uh...hmmm. What is it, again, that will affect your existence, you moron?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • lol??

      Muhammad LUVED the spirits of Unitarianism, as long as they made him DA Boss.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Loving Christian,

      How long will it be when 3-some and 4-some marriages will become a cultural reality? Group marriages are society's next fence to hurdle over.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      Do you "bow down and bite the bullet as a peace offering" to other social groups? Women perhaps? Blacks? Hispanics? What exactly does this mean? What steps will you now have to take to make room for the gays? It's not like marriage is some hotel lobby with limited space that is now going to get overcrowed. I have not heard a single valid response from any Christian or deist or conservative who is against gay marriage when asked what negative effect it will have on them. None of this has any effect on you, so why do you care? Just go be "not gay" all you want. There is no one forcing you to get gay married.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      TrTomboy who is really a tramp,

      What's the matter Tommy girl? No Chad or HS or other Christians to pick on? You truly are a trolling bigot!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      TrTomboy who is really a tramp,

      What's the matter Tommy girl? No Chad or HS or other Christians to pick on? You truly are a trolling bigot!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      LL, the stupid: And? Polygamy would affect you and society in what way, exactly?

      You dolt, you barely leave your hovel. I'll bet you haven't met a gay couple yet, and here you are worrying and fretting about polygamy? Why don't you worry about something substantive, LL? How about CHILD ABUSE? You should know plenty about that and how much more harmful it is to society than gay marriage. Why don't you get active on that front, you putz? Because you KNOW you'd have to admit your transgressions if you did.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, and here come the usual idiotic insults from the coward. Next, we'll hear about "whoredom". Yawn.

      Your whining, LL, is proof that you are nothing more than a hypocrite. You can't tolerate gay marriage without crying in your beer, but you think your own criminal behavior is forgivable.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Happy Atheist,

      Two some marriages of same gender are just the icing on the cake when it boils down to marriage. What's next, group marriages of 3 to say 12 respondents? To leave it up to destiny is not what the governed want to hear, unless,,, ?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • The real Tom

      More babble from the usual source. "To leave it up to destiny is not what the governed want to hear, unless,,, ?"

      What does this crap even mean?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      One "transgression" in a lifetime and you feel as though you have the right where all to continually demean one who has been repenting ever since? Go and shovel your own psychotically conditioned dispensations elsewhere! Pick your own nose while you're at it! Leave me and my brother out of your life for Christ's sake!

      June 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Suck on it if you don't like it, you hypocrite.

      You carry on as if someone tore off your left leg, you silly ninny. Get over yourself already. You aren't being impacted by gay marriage in any way, shape, or form. If you don't get the reason I bring up your own failings, maybe you should re-read the portion of your bible where Jesus says that those without sin should cast the first stone. Shut you fat piehole and get over it.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "What's next, group marriages of 3 to say 12 respondents?"

      Again I ask, what difference would that make to your marriage?

      You have not answered the question, you just throw up moronic rhetorical questions in response. Just tell me what effect this will have on YOU? No one else, just you. What will gays getting married do to you? Just answer that once please.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      So TrT,

      Your casting stones in my direction is an admission of your being found out faultless and blameless? I'll believe that when I see pigs flying over you dumping their shit all over you!

      June 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Cowardly Lion, where and when have I have claimed to be faultless and blameless? Your silly attempts to deflect are ineffective. You are the one who is yapping about gay marriage and polygamy, so if you don't like being called on your transgressions, then don't cast stones at others.

      You have yet to answer the simplest question posed to you by me and others: how does gay marriage affect you?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Happy Atheist,

      The real harm is not with me but lays within the children's upbringing. For children to be nurtured about sexual relationships in their youth in other than heterosexualism by which they are born from will only confuse a child who still is not cognoscente of social immoralities. Keep the "public" schools out of and away from bedroom antics!

      June 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "To leave it up to destiny is not what the governed want to hear, unless,,, ?"

      Are you able to translate this drivel into anything that is meaningful to those of us who can read and write in English instead of Batshit Crazy?

      June 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Observer

      lionlylamb,

      Children see all versions of families around them from single parents, to being raised by relatives, to being orphans. They aren't as dumb as you think.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "The real harm is not with me but lays within the children's upbringing. For children to be nurtured about se xual relationships in their youth in other than heterose xualism by which they are born from will only confuse a child who still is not cognoscente of social immoralities. Keep the "public" schools out of and away from bedroom antics!"

      What do the public schools have to do with this, you nincompoop?

      Do cite any studies you can find that show that children of gay and lesbian couples are harmed in any way by living with two loving parents who happen to be of the same gender. I dare you.

      And it's "cognizant", you stupid git.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      What about children of straight couples that see spousal abuse? Divorce? Child abuse? etc.. It can't be any worse for children of gay or lesbian parents.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, Ken. LL presumably had straight parents and look how he and his brother turned out. Not exactly an endorsement for straight marriage, are they? LL can't cite a single study that shows that children of gay partners are affected adversely in any way at all. Makes him just furious, but them's the breaks.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "The real harm is not with me" So you finally answer, though still not completely since you say "real harm" as if there is some other perceived harm still effecting your life. As for your additional moronic rhetoric about it being unhealthy for children, besides it not effecting their s e xuality at all since you are either born gay or not, what evidence of any harm do you have? I'll tell you how much evidence you have. None, nil, zilch, nada, bupkis, zero, null, nix, goose egg. All you have is your book of myths that says "that's bad and naughty". That is all you have, and it's not valid for our diverse secular democracy.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • craig

      Render to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is Gods. Gods word is clear Christians will suffer in the last days. It is only just starting. Our reward is in heaven. Keep the faith brothers and sisters. Stand against evil . Love your neighbor.

      July 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  9. L.E.A.P.

    Voltaire born in the 1640's not much of a prophet for logic and reason

    June 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  10. L.E.A.P.

    History lesson, Voltaire said the same thing about religion ....

    June 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  11. Sue

    Personally I think Christianity will just eventually fade out. Looks like that's happening (good news).

    June 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  12. sam

    “Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

    WOW. Holy crow. Damn, that is hilarious.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      My thoughts exactly. But I'll go down for the FSM any day!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You make a great point sam!! LOL

      June 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Sue

      Too funny!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • lol??

      Some people just can't imagine a sewage treatment plant as a favorite swimmin' hole. Is that any reason to call em bigots??

      June 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      “Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

      Life imitating art? (I'm thinking of Eric Cartman and Faith+1.)

      June 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      South Park – Christian Hard Rock.

      Eric Cartman as "Faith+1":

      I need you in my life, Jesus. I can't live without you, Jesus.
      And I just want to feel you deep inside me, Jesus.

      Don't ever leave me, Jesus. I couldn't stand to see you go.
      My heart would simply snap, my Lord, if you walked on out that door.
      I promise I'll be good to you, and keep you warm at night.
      Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, why don't we just... shut off the lights.

      I love you, Jesus, I want you to walk with me.
      I'll take good care of you baby. Call you my baby, baby!
      You died for my sins, and you know that I would die for you, right?
      What's the matter, baby? You tremble at Jesus, baby! Your love, is my life!
      You'ld know when I talk too, there's a blackhole in my life! Ooooh!
      I want'a believe, it's alright, cause I get lonely in the night and it's up to you to save me, Jesus, baby!

      (From a commercial on TV – "K-tal Records presents..." )
      Oh Lord you are my savior! You know I miss you so much when you are gone.
      Yes I may be born again, but I wasn't born again yesterday.
      I want'a get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I want'a feel his salvation all over my face.
      The body of Christ, sleek swimmer's body, all muscled up and toned.
      The body of Christ, Oh, Lord Almighty, I wish I could call it my own.
      You're one time, two times, three times my Savior...
      Whenever I see Jesus up on that cross I can't help but think that he looks kind'a hot...

      June 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  13. lol??

    LUVLY A&A talk, err barf.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Figures

    Eastern WA is a bastion of redneck crap. The minute you cross the mountains from Seattle, it may as well be the deep south.

    June 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • lol??

      Ya got kwazy fish on the udder side from all the caffeine and Prozac in the water.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  15. myweightinwords

    Anyone who doesn't want to sell goods and services to LGBT people don't have to. It's their decision. They just have to realize that it is also the decision of the buying public to shun their business because of it.

    It really is that simple. No one will force them to sell to the gays, just as no one is going to force a church to perform same-gender weddings.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The same argument was used in segregation.

      June 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Personally I don't care what a person believes until they use it as a weapon to deny someone else. Then it becomes a reason for me to chose whether or not to continue a relationship with that person.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Supposed a gay person is rushed to a doctor. Should the doctor have the right not to help?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        That's a completely different situation.

        I'm talking about money, not lives.

        Anyone in a profession that safe-guards the public good can not be allowed to discriminate.

        However, a private business owner like this florist? She's a small minded bigot, but there's no law against that.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Colin

      Ken, silly argumnet, equating the purchase of flowers with a health emergency. I am 100% in favor of gay marriage, but, I must admit, I support the right of a private business to have a different opinion to me and to refuse to participate in something they don't agree with.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      That's a slippery slope stating you can discriminate for one thing and not the other. Where does it stop? restaurant? hotel?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        We can not dictate to a private person and a private business who they can and cannot do business with. We can regulate how they treat employees, and we can ensure that they do not abuse the public, but beyond that?

        Word of mouth will do more to destroy them than laws will. Look at Paula Dean. Once it hits the airwaves, there is no going back anymore.

        Besides, most folks I know don't WANT to do business with someone who hates them.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Colin

      A "slippery slope" argument is flawed because it rebuts a proposition that is not even being made. It's like the opponents of gay marriage who argue that we should not allow gay marriage because "pretty soon people will be wanting to marry their pets." The owners of a flower shope elected not to sell flowers to a gay wedding. That should be their right.

      Minds must be changed with the gentle, but inexorable weight of reason and logic, not at the point of a bayonette.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I go back to my earlier point. Sounds a lot like segregation. If a realtor didn't want to sell to minorities or ONLY sold them places in certain neighborhoods, would you be OK with that? Realtors are private businesses.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        It would be the responsibility of those who disagreed to make it financially inadvisable for that Realtor to continue to behave that way.

        That doesn't mean that it's "okay" for him to behave that way, only that we do not have the right to tell him who he can and can not sell to.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Colin

      Ken, got to run. Later, dude.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • L.E.A.P.

      Grow up! It is NOT like segregation! You have a Prez, congress and Hollywood behind you, don't confuse your agenda with weightier issues, your battle is won "we got everything we wanted"

      June 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        LEAP, the war isn't over and we didn't get everything we wanted, but the momentum is in our favor.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Looks like colin is running because maybe he doesn't have an answer? I'm not trying to be difficult. look back at history. Schools were segregated, baseball was segregated. One's public, one's private. Both didn't want to serve blacks. Sounds familiar?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Or maybe Colin just has to go? Why brand him a coward (running?)?

        Yes, there was segregation and yes, the government stepped in to segregate the schools because schools are a part of government and the laws against discrimination extended to include the schools.

        Sports were not de-segregated by laws, but by public pressure.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Lets keep it simple. If she said "she doesn't serve blacks". Would you be OK with that?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        That would be her choice.

        My response would be the same as it is now: to publicize it, to let the world know that she is a bigot who won't sell to someone so people who support equality should shun her business.

        What would you have us do? Jail her?

        June 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Define what you mean by "Okay with it".

        Do I think it's right and good? No. I think it's stupid and moronic.

        Do I think she should be sued or jailed for it? No. Just let her reap the reward of her bigotry.

        June 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      So why fight for any rights at all? Why tell Hobby Lobby to provide contraception coverage? Their are 38 states that don't recognize gay marriage. We should leave it at their choice also. Obviously it's illegal because she's being charged. You mean to tell me if you and I walked into a store together. I was served properly and respectfully. You on the other hand was disrespected and humiliated. You would simply say "That is their right" We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        She isn't being charged because what she did isn't illegal. She's being sued. There's a difference.

        And no, that isn't what I said at all. If you and I both walked into a store and you were treated with respect and served as you needed and I was ignored or disrespected or treated badly, I would be angry. I might even sue.

        But that treatment (unless it devolved into physical violence) is not technically illegal. And me being me, no I wouldn't even sue. I'd just make sure everyone knew what happened, and let word of mouth kill the business.

        July 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • L.E.A.P.

      "Weight" based on personal experience and the color of my skin, it is NOT the same thing

      June 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I would be angry for you.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  16. Business is business

    I would love to see someone order a bunch of flowers and not tell her on how they are going to be used, it really is none of her or her churches business. When she finds out they are present at an LGBT ceremony, what is she going to do, go down and rip them to shreds? What a bigot. Can you imagine going shopping and have some religious fundie asking how you are going to use the product?

    June 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  17. L.E.A.P.

    Hysterical to me, some Glee star finally gets to marry her life partner, only to have her life partner divorce her! WELCOME to marriage and divorce equality! Paying alimony Hollywood style, no better at this than the rest of us......

    June 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Gays and lesbian couples have the same problems as straight couples.

      June 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • L.E.A.P.

      Yep nothing special, we are all equal now

      June 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  18. Ken Margo

    If she wants to lose money and go out of business, GREAT! She's a bigot plain and simple hiding behind her religion. When she can't pay her bills maybe she can pray for money to fall from the sky and fills her pocket. NOT!

    June 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • sam

      Can't figure why it matters to her what someone does with her flowers as long as she gets paid. At least she'll be easy to avoid if people don't want to deal with her opinion.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      No one said bigots had brains!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  19. Julias Ceasar

    People are going to look back at this and it will remind them of the segregation of the 1960's. It's just as disturbing. You can not force others to partake in your religion. Besides you want to be kind to others and treating some people differently than others because they are not your religion is unkind.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • lol??

      More A&A prophetic udderances as espoused by Pandora. They just can't help themselves from copycattin'.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  20. maximo

    And even
    "More Scientists Endorse Darwin's Doubt: Meet Biologist Mark C. Biedebach" – See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/06/more_scientists073871.html

    excerpt of what Biedebach writes:

    Meyer asserts that those who believe neo-Darwinian (or any other conceivable materialistic) processes provide a satisfactory explanation for the existence of life on earth must invariably resort to a metaphysical assertion known as methodological naturalism. This is the view that it is possible to explain all features and events that occur in the natural world by reference to exclusively natural causes. (This has sometimes been called "exclusionary methodological naturalism," because a purposive intelligence, mind, or conscious agency is excluded as a cause.)

    But Meyer argues that to restrict methodological naturalism in such a way renders one blind to the possibility that intelligent design is the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of the new information necessary for new cellular network circuitry or a new body plan (whenever previous transitional fossils do not exist).

    Meyer's attack is really against "macroevolution" (large scale population change). Michael Behe (in The Edge of Evolution) points out that there is abundant evidence for "microevolution" (smaller population change), but there is a boundary at which the evidence for microevolution stops and evidence for macroevolution either doesn't exist, or any clues that do exist are beset with problems so serious that explanatory attempts boil down to "just-so-stories." This leaves macroevolution sitting atop a boundary (or wall) with an outlook no better that that of Humpty Dumpty.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Science

      Is It Alive or Dead? How to Measure the Thermal Signatures of Single Cells and Assess Their Biological Activity

      June 28, 2013 — To the ancients, probing the philosophical question of how to distinguish the living from the dead centered on the "mystery of the vital heat."

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130628102927.htm

      June 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Science

      Strong religious convictions are no excuse for misrepresenting research

      The faithful can live how they choose, but not dictate to others

      http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/strong-religious-convictions-are-no-excuse-for-misrepresenting-research-1.1442395

      June 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Colin

      oh Maximo, Oh my creationist friend, proof of macro-evolution is all around you. Now, before you declare me “stupid,” “evil” or part of a worldwide conspiracy to deny the truth of your "six days and a talking snake" theory of life on Earth, please take five minutes to read this.

      The classic definition of a species is that two members of the same species can breed and produce fertile offspring, but cannot mate with members of a different species. A human of any race can mate with a human of any other race, but none of us can mate with a chimpanzee, for example. So, all humans are in the same species, but we are all a different species to chimpanzees. Easy stuff.

      Indeed, it is often easy to tell that two organisms are of different species just by looking at them. Compare, for example, a dog to a horse. Where it gets a little complex, however, is where you have two organisms that look very similar, but are of different species, or two different species that look very similar. Dogs are a great example of both. Compare a lighter-coated German Shepherd to the wolf. They look very similar, but are of a different species (or sub-species, depending on the definition one uses). Likewise, a Great Dane looks very different to a Corgi, but they are of the same species Canis lupis familiaris, the domestic dog.

      Why are Great Danes and Corgis considered to be the same species (along with German Shepherds) but wolves and German Shepherds not? For the same reason as humans. Great Danes, German Shepherds and Corgis can and will mate and produce fertile offspring, but none of them will mate with a wolf, absent human intervention. However, and this is where evolution kicks in, all breeds of dog alive today descended from wolves. In fact, it is likely that they all descended, ultimately, from a small pack of wolves that were domesticated in the Middle East some 10,000 years ago. Some research suggests Manchuria as the location, but I digress.

      What happened was that humans noticed that certain, less aggressive wolves were handy to have around. They ate pests and garbage and alerted the camp when predators lurked nearby. So, humans began to intentionally feed and try to tame them. The tamer, less aggressive wolves were less afraid of human interaction and less likely to harm their human hosts. They, therefore received more attention, food and protection, which gave them a breeding advantage, and they passed on this favorable trait, call it “tameness,” to their offspring.

      These tamer offspring were constantly chosen (probably unknowingly) for care and support and the wilder, more aggressive members of the litter discarded, perhaps for biting or avoiding humans. After hundreds or thousands of years of inadvertent selection for “tameness” the camp wolves started to become dependent on their human hosts and to even look different to their still wild ancestors. They lost the extreme aggressiveness that helped them in the wild, became less streamlined and tooled for the kill and had less adrenaline that causes aggression. In other words, they slowly became, in a sense, fat, dumb and happy. Doggie dough-boys. Girlie-men compared to their wild cousins, still red of fang and claw.

      These first domestic dogs were so popular with humans that their “use” spread and humans all over the globe – Australian Aboriginals, New Zealand Maoris and other Polynesians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans – all began to use dogs. Then something else happened. Humans actually noticed that, if there was a specific trait you liked about your, say male dog, you could breed it with a female with the same trait and the offspring would inherit that trait. If, for example, a hunter-gatherer only ever allows the fastest male dogs to breed with the fastest female dogs, after many years of such selective breeding the resultant dogs would differ so much in body shape, leg length and, perhaps, lung capacity from their ancestor as to be considered a separate breed.

      No one set of offspring would differ greatly from its parents, but it will differ a little more from its grandparents, and even a little more from its great-grandparents etc., until we go all the way back to the original dog, which will be quite different in appearance.

      Bang – dog breeding was born. Humans selected for speed, resulting in the Greyhound, smelling and tracking ability (Bloodhounds) ability to herd sheep (Collies and Australian Shepherds) appearance (Dalmatians and Pomeranians) size (Chihuahuas and Great Danes) and a host of other traits.

      As with most human activities, as our knowledge increased, dog breeding improved and exploded in the 1900s. There are now 600 or so breeds of dog, all of which descendent from the original wolf. Many breeds of dog alive today evolved over the past few decades and did not even exist as late as 1900. But, every last domestic dog, from the Teacup Chihuahua in Paris Hilton’s purse to the Great Danes of European car advertisements, are the end result of selective breeding down different paths from the original wolf.

      Most breeds of dog do not (and likely cannot) breed with wolves for a variety of reasons, including allopatric and/or human induced separation and mating rituals. Not only that, but put almost any domestic dog in the wild and it would not survive a month. A wolf is much more likely to eat a Shih Tzu than bonk it. They are separate species. In the struggle for life, the domestic dog species originated through means of selection as a favored race from the original wolf.

      If this last sentence sounds familiar, that is because it is. It is essentially the full ti.tle of Charles Darwin’s seminal work: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.

      So there you have it, my Bible-cuddling friends. Evolution in motion. Undeniable; living in every suburb, licking our faces, fetching our sticks and messing on our sidewalks. Macro-evolution. A well recorded, understood, DNA mapped and uncontroversial case of evolution of one sub-species – Canis lupus lupus, the Eurasian wolf, into another, Canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog.

      There are many, many others examples of evolution all around us by the way. Even the most cursory of research into any branch of horticulture or animal husbandry quickly reveals that the size, variety, health, longevity and resistance to disease of most of our domesticated plants and animals were the thing of dreams as recently as 100 years ago. Indeed, biotech companies like Monsanto would quickly fall behind the market if they did not spend millions each year on Darwinian selective breeding programs. Why do you think horse breeders spend thousands of dollars to have a fast male racehorse mate with their mare?

      Wheat is another great example, as are gra.pes. The species of wheat that we in the West use for bread only developed in the last few thousand years as a result of two episodes of sympatric speciation (different to selective breeding, but an agent of evolution none the less). Likewise, the various Shiraz, Char.donnay and Pinot Noir gra.pes we enjoy today, in the form of wine, were all developed and perfected in the last 100 years or so.

      So, Adam or Eve, the next time you kneel down in your church and take your weekly dose of the body and blood of your dead pan-handling Greco-Roman Jewish hippie, you might like to reflect on the fact that you are actually eating proof of evolution and washing it down with proof of evolution.

      “Body of Darwin?”

      Amen!

      June 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Sue

      Fantastic post, Colin.

      June 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • lol??

      Not exactly Colin. Humans are smarter than dogs and had their, ahem, way with them. Did dogs "do it" on their own when they were fat and happy?? How 'bout those fat and happy chimps??

      June 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • The real Tom

      maxipad, you can keep denying the fact that evolution occurred, is occurring, and will continue to occur if you choose. You can pretend to know what you're talking about by using the terms "micro" and "macro", but it won't fool anyone.

      Be left in the dust if you want. Buh-bye.

      June 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • really

      really, maximo?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.