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
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. Jason

    Observer seems to get his jollies by using the words "hypocrite' and "hypocrisy" a lot.

    July 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      And you get your jollies from judging others on slight rhetorical anomalies?

      July 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Observer


      The Bible is full of bad things said about heteros. Those who divorce and remarry are ADULTERERS. The Bible also talks about how important the Golden Rule is.

      What word would you use to describe Christians who IGNORE all of that so they can pick on gays?

      Answer please.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  2. Saraswati

    If we want a free-for-all, when shop owners start refusing to sell food to anyone they think is overweight, or bikinis to those they think will damage the local aesthetics then we'll hear how people really feel about this pick and choose society. When you get up to the counter with your birth control or pregnancy test and they ask your marital status and what you plan to do if you are pregnant, and refuse if they don't like the answer. When every store asks for your voter registration card before you enter, and your dentist turns you away because you are now pregnant with one more child than the count he approves. It'll be super fun when half-way through a mean a turn of your head reveals a tattoo the owner doesn't like.

    July 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Saraswati –

      I can already hear the cries of, "Straw Man!", but you make a very good point. Society is a hard beast to tame.

      July 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I'm sure you agree that there are times when it would be appropriate for certain business owners to turn away certain customers for certain reasons. How do you suggest we go about allowing for those cases when it is appropriate for an owner to refuse to offer service/product?

      July 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I see no straw man in his set up. I see a lot of things that people could decide are their religious beliefs and choose not to sell them flowers. What is the difference between this woman choosing not to sell to the gay couple as opposed to not selling to someone with tattoos? 1 Corinth 6:19,20 "19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." Could not this woman take that to mean anyone with a tattoo other than a cross or the virgin mary is not "honoring God with their bodies" and refuse to sell to them?

      July 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Here are the valid reasons for not selling a product to someone from a public business:

      Are they under a certain age that the law has specified a restriction on for the product you are selling?

      Are they unable to pay the price that everyone else is paying for that item?

      Are they in your establishment without shoe's/shirt which may be a cleanliness hazard/liability issue for your business but one that they can easily fix by putting on shoe's and a shirt?

      Do you have a dress code for your establishment? Fine, as long as anyone of any gender or race or s exual preference can meet that dress code when asked and all can enjoy dining at your restaraunt that is open to the public. If the dress code requires you to not be gay or black then this business can expect to have it's public doors closed and is fine to re-open as a private club for bigots.

      July 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious


      Consider a very small town with a very strong KKK presence. When the KKK need new outfits, they take their business to the one business owner they know it will affect the most: a black business owner. They then take the sheets next door to another black business owner who does alterations and sewing.

      Under your reasoning, both business owners must do business with these individuals. I wish there was a way for the law to empower these business owners to refuse service to the KKK members, but you have no problem with the law forcing them to accept their business. Why are you so comfortable with such a system?

      July 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Obvious, I'm not "so comfortable" with the system; I'm just less comfortable with the alternative. Like most things in life there are no perfect answers, and likely never will be. As I've said elsewhere, I'd be more comfortable with making a few carefully worded legal exceptions than reverting to the free-for-all discrimination practices that have, throughout history, radically excluded minority groups.

      July 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Hmm... I think that the very folks on these boards screaming the loudest that business owners do not have the right to refuse service would scream just as loud IN FAVOR of a black business owner turning away business from the KKK. I wonder what their arguments would be and what how their rhetoric would be in that situation?

      July 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "I wish there was a way for the law to empower these business owners to refuse service to the KKK members, but you have no problem with the law forcing them to accept their business." I don't. If you sell white sheet's and someone uses them to dress up like a bigot that's their perogitive. If you sell anything you do not get to decide how that product is used other than from a liability standpoint where you put a warning on the package that says "If this product is used for anthing other than it's intended purpose we the manufacturer limit our liability to it's intended purpose" so when someone goes to the hospital with a light bulb stuck in their ass we don't sue the manufacturer or the salesperson who sold them the bulb.

      Now if the KKK members were wearing a big sign on their backs that said "Get your Hood's at Sanford & Son's Hood Emporium" then you might have a case of defimation if the business did not sanction the advertisment and did not want to be associated with them in any way.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Just, Agreed, you have to guarantee than endorsement is not implied. If you imply endorsement, you pay. Equally, if information rerading your supplier gets out due to actionsof the buyer, that supplier should be free to state their opionion of the organization, as in "I think they are a bunch of bigots, but I can not be responsible for what they do with the sheets I sell." And of course, if the KKK are dumb enough. to discus an upcoming cross burning while picking up the sheets, you call the cops. If you feel bad, donate the money you earned appropriately.

      Youo don't, btw, have to sell someone you think is going to lynch someone a noose. We already have legal protections for preventing illegal acts.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "You don't, btw, have to sell someone you think is going to lynch someone a noose. We already have legal protections for preventing illegal acts." Correct. If someone say's "Please can I buy that knife, I am going to go stab someone" then the saleperson has the legal right to deny the sale of that knife no matter how legal it might have been just before the person made the statement of intent. This line is a bit blurred now in regards to gun sales where the implied use is to shoot someone, but always in defense. No gun shop owner is allowed to sell a gun to a guy who is telling him how he plans to go home and murder his wife.

      Back to the woman selling the flowers, they will be used just like every other order of flowers has been used, to beautify a special occasion. So her beef wasn't with how they were to be used, it was completely against those doing the using making her a grade A bigot who is breaking the law.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I think we're losing sight of the forest because we are looking too closely at the KKK tree.

      My problem is hypocrisy in our own camp. Suppose there were an article on CNN that highlighted a business owner refusing to offer services to someone, but in this case, public opinion/political correctness was on the side of the business owner. (Something comparable to the example I give above--you know, all the nonbelievers totally against the motives of the purchaser instead of for the motives of the purchaser in the case of the gay customer at this florist). My guess is that about 80%-90% of the same atheists and "rational thinkers" on this site would have the OPPOSITE opinion and be speaking out just as loudly that business owners should HAVE the right to refuse service to that group of people public opinion is against.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      That's a different issue, JFM.

      Maybe I'm a hypocrite, but I don't think that the one sewing shop in a town, which happens to be owned by a black woman, should be required by federal law to sew KKK robes for the Klan because the law prohibits them from discriminating.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Obvious, first, I would need to hear each individuals arguments before assuming hypocrisy. Some may have well reasoned arguments as to the difference as they see it. But second, I guess I don't really expect the atheists to be all that much more logical and even than the theists. I know some very bright theists and some pretty dim atheists, so for those who don't have an argument, I'm not going to be too shocked.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Cpt. Your post caught my eye because I think you are making the proper argument. More correctly, you are trying to put the argument in its proper context on the issue (freedom of contracts) and away from the topic (bigotry). Be careful or you'll end up sounding lie a conservative. It seems to me that a tenet of liberalism is to find a conditional rule for every situation. So, instead of something simple like "People should be free to engage in commerce when both parties are willing", we get a litany of "In situation A, rule 21 applies.."

      July 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I have seen much evidence of atheist hypocrisy in the past. I am very concerned that we are extremely concerned with noticing it and posting it when it comes from the believers, but are hardly concerned with noticing it and posting it when it comes from our own "side." Had the florist's story not been printed, but instead the story in the example I posted above, I believe that many of the atheists speaking against an owner/operator having the freedom to serve the clients she wishes would have been speaking just as loudly for an owner/operator having the freedom to serve the clients she wishes.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Bill Deacon you are a lying piece-of-sh!t azzhole. I'm neither "liberal" nor "conservative," and I couldn't care less about your stupid-as-fvck opinions. Fvck off, Marymotherofgod's period blood.

      July 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  3. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    It is really not so much a "Revolution" as it is an evolution of marriage. All of our social constructs have evolved along with our basic levels of education and technology. My 8 year old knows things now about the universe that I didn't know as a 24 year old physics major 20 years ago. She will understand things on a basic level that most adults had to gradually learn as science and technology has given clearer and clearer views of our universe. One of those basic facts of science is that people are born with a gender bias and thus being gay is a naturally occurring phenomenon not only in humans but in several species. The evolution of our social constructs such as marriage would naturally follow our evolution of knowledge about the universe around us. When it was decided that the earth was the center of the universe and God made everything for us it stunted human growth and innovation, some call this period the "Dark Ages". Some today would have us chuck all the progress we have made and go back to that dark age of unreasoning and misunderstanding about ourselves and our universe. Those are the speed bumps on the road to a better future. The people who refuse to invest in the future of mankind should just get out of the way or they will get run over, and whine about it as the tires of progress slowly inch over their ignorant backs.

    July 5, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      Eventually progress in science challenges almost everyone, religious or secular, with things they don't want to hear. These things may challenge our self-image, our feelings about others, or pet theories or our religious beliefs. But given the rapidly changing nature of our modern world, how we handle and incorporate these revelations says a lot about how we and our children will likely do over the next few generations.

      July 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  4. Observer

    Real Wisdom

    "There is no such thing as morality without God. Nothing is moral unless God says it is. Take God out of the equation and there is no such thing as "morals"...

    Christians aren't nearly as stupid as you think they are. Most of them are bright enough to figure out that it's not a good idea to go around killing everyone without needing a 2,000-year-old book to tell them not to.

    Don't trash the intelligence of your fellow Christians like that. Speak for yourself.

    July 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  5. Ramon F Herrera

    "On gay marriage, Latinos agree with Obama"
    By Maria Cardona, CNN Contributor

    "In two new polls, Romney trails Obama - in one by 50 points, the other by 68 points - among Latino voters."


    July 4, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  6. Ramon F Herrera

    "To the Republican base, we demand: Do not hate Latinos!!! Unless they are gay, that is..."

    -Senator Marco Rubio
    -Governor Susana Martinez

    July 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  7. Cambridge Ray


    July 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  8. jazzguitarman

    Marine 1: You posted this: I thought about being gay once. Then i thought it would be to much of a pain in the a$$.

    THEN you try to claim in your discussion with Observer that you're not angry. That you're not hating on others. OK, you're an everyday dude that happens to be Christian. OK, you're less of an odd ball than Lack of Wisdom and Prism. But reading what you have posted you're very immature and insecure in your faith.

    July 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • marine1

      Thanks. It was just a joke.

      July 5, 2013 at 7:25 am |
    • Saraswati

      @jazz, He just has the sense of humor of a poorly raised 10 year old. I'd let it go; he really doesn't see why this isn't funny to the rest of us.

      July 5, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  9. CarrotCakeMan

    These denominations will marry same gender couples in 13 US States and the District of Columbia:

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    Disciples Of Christ
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Conservative Judaism
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ

    Some churches in these denominations are already marrying same gender couples:

    American Baptist
    Presbyterian Church USA
    United Methodist Church

    July 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  10. Hex Angel

    Stutzman should have to pay the man for the pain and suffering she caused. What a horrible person.

    July 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Are you cracking wise? I only ask because what actual damages did the gay guy suffer? e.g. let’s say he had to go to another flower shop and it cost him $20 more for a similar service. That would be actual damages. I ask these questions because I really don't know how hurt feelings can be compensated with a monetary reward.

      July 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      There is no requirement in the law the florist broke that says her victims have to have monetary loss. She can and probably will be fined for violating the law.

      July 4, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  11. David Schuster

    Simply put, I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as my personal savior. I wake every morning thankful for a new day of life. And I am GAY and proud. If I ever have the chance to get married I will most definitely do it. But I don't need a church. Legally, I only need a marriage license and a representative of a state or city to perform Once again, haters who feel it necessary to join church and state to protest. How many times, how many years will it take to get the point across – this is the United States of America, a country, unlike those in the mideast, where religion has no part in governing. Church and state are separated for a reason. The Founding Fathers knew that without this separation, there would be a never-ending battle for control. My message this 4th of July is go to the church of your choice, pray to the God of your choice, but do not dictate my path to God's glory. I know, as a gay man who may or may not ever get married, that I will be welcomed at Heaven's Gate for the good deeds I try and accomplish every day here on earth and not for who I chose to love. I doubt that any of the haters who profess to be "christian" will be at that same gate.

    July 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Hex Angel

      You kind sir, are one in a million that follow your religion and I commend you.

      July 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Imagine your lack of surprise when, after you die, there's no you to walk through that gate that does not exist.

      July 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Tom Tom; Why the need to mock David. I'm agnostic but I don't have a need to attack those of faith as long as they don't tell me I'm evil or going to he ll or are immoral by definition. David has enough to deal with by being a gay Christian. Have some heart.

      July 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      David Shuster… Thank you for posting but it takes more than just "believing in Jesus Christ and accepting him as your personal savior to be saved." The devils also believe the same thing, yet they're not saved. The belief that you have to do that is a lie thought up by Lucifer designed to send your soul to hell. And it is a common lie you hear told in false churches. To be saved the right way, you have to follow the scripture of Acts 2:38 and do what it says. Until you have followed that scripture and have received the Holy Ghost, you are not and will not be saved…

      July 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Observer

      Jesus never trashed gays, unlike all the Christian HYPOCRITES who don't practice what Jesus said about the Golden Rule.

      July 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Lawrence

      David – The problem is that religious people tend to place the demands of their gods above the founding principles of their country (and isn't it ironic that they also tend to portray themselves as more patriotic than the non-religious?).

      July 5, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I am sorry. Mockery was not appropriate. However, David protests that there are those that would exclude him from the Gated Community, at least in their own hearts and minds. He does not protest that it is a gated community.

      July 5, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      RW: Wow, you're just one more christard who thinks they have it right. Who are you to judge anyone when quite apparently you're not so perfect yourself?? The god my mother believed in until her dying day was loving and good, the god you and a great many other christards portray is a vindictive prick. If by a slim chance you are right and I am wrong, I will happily take my place amongst a great many others who lived this life believing in the betterment of mankind and were bright enough to question things and not accept them without evidence. If you want people to accept the belief, then at least try to make it a little more appealing!
      You've been asked to back your claims and all you use it the bible...it's not good enough, not when it can be shown to be full of inaccuracies and points right back to itself. The fact that you don't look outside of it for answers doesn't make it right, it makes you foolish and gullible and in too many ways validates your reasoning for speaking out against things that you wouldn't have reason to speak out against otherwise.
      I don't care if you think I'm wrong, you're entitled to that opinion...just as I'm entitled to call you out and demand evidence. In the end no-one knows...no-one has EVER returned from the dead to verify heaven or hell and until that happens, there simply is no reason to believe.

      July 5, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  12. JayneQP

    Went to a wedding yesterday. A couple that joined together in a promise of fidelity and commitment 12 years ago finally made it legal and I've never been to a more joyful marriage ceremony (apart from my own ;)). I don't care what is spouted by those who use their faith to harm others & make themselves feel more righteous, I'm just grateful that equality won over their abuse. Hooray!

    July 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  13. tb63

    Um no, I didn't read it anywhere. I do read, and I use my brain and think. Fact is, there isn't a person alive who knows what happens when we die. Period. You may believe that you do, but I have news for you – you don't. I choose not to follow a religion that was borrowed and stolen wholesale from others before it to hold power over people. My mind is open. Yours is closed.

    July 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • tb63

      Whoops. That was a reply to Real Wisdom.

      July 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • texasnotea

      spot on!

      July 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bob

      Real Foolishness, why couldn't your omnipotent sky fairy do his saving thing without all the dead son on sticks nonsense?

      July 5, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • tb63

      So you've been dead have you? I'll say it again – you BELIEVE what happens after death, you do not KNOW it. Huge difference. The only people who know for sure are those who have died and remain dead.

      Anyone can believe anything they like. I can choose to believe that after I die I'll live in a house made of chocolate with faucets running gin and vodka. It doesn't make it true.

      July 5, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Akira

      tb63: what brand of vodka?

      July 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • tb63

      I'm not too partial as long as it isn't rot gut. If it's Fleischmann's I'll know I'm in hell. 😉

      July 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  14. jazzguitarman

    Saraswati: With regards to your comment that businesses should be required to sell to everyone; My point was if the standard should be if harm or an undo burden was placed on the consumer or not. The current laws do NOT require harm. e.g. if there are 10 flower shops in town and 8 of them will sell to gays should the other 2 be requried by law to sell to gays. Most people here say 'YES' for various reasons (the best one being it would be impractical to have a 'harm' standard).

    I talked to my gay friends about this and they gave a very practical reply; Why would they want to support a business that didn't want their services. They also worried that they would get poor service if the business was forced to service them against their will. But the law still requires that the business owner doesn't discriminate, which is now it should be.

    July 4, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Dippy

      It's undue, not undo.

      July 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Dippy: I'm going to type a real long comment and ensure I have 'typos' in the very last sentence just to force you to read the entire thing! Really, do you have nothing of substance to post? Do you provide your service only at this forum or others as well?

      July 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's free, no charge. I don't correct typos. Undo is not a typo, it's a misspelled or wrong word.

      July 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • marine1

      @ Dippy

      Are you the spell check police? Pound sand idiot!!!!

      July 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Jazz, I wouls probably not want to support a flowershop that didn't wnt my business, but then I don't find flowers particularly important. Wh am I to say if there are only two flowershops in town and to someone else the difference *is* important? What if one is in town and you have to travel 50 miles to get to the next one? Who decides what causes harm? You are essentially waiting for a law suit on every transaction, here in the country that already has more lawyers per capita than any other country. Impractical is a non-trivial issue. Not only is it expensive to us as a nation, but because in each case the person discriminated against will bear most of the burden, it would be something that in practice people would rarely challenge.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Saraswati –

      Happy 4th, Sara. I skirted my ban.

      I admit that I cringe at compelled "fairness"; however, I am able to see the Stutzman-Washington issue as one of proactive governmental protection – but, it's a shame that, in the 21st century, these protections are still necessary. That said, Ms. Stutzman violated Washington State law and needs to face the music.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Saraswati, you made valid points. One thing I did raise was a wedding photographer. Should they be forced by law to provide services to a gay wedding? I know guys that now support SSM because of the equality under the law argument, but they don’t like to see two men kissing. It really bugs them. So should they be forced to photograph a gay wedding? What about their rights to free association?

      Hey, I can understand why it wouldn’t be wise, from a legal viewpoint, to have exceptions. (oh and of course it wouldn’t be wise for gays to hire an anti-gay photographer since there are other ways he could mess with the customer).

      July 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @jazz, I think the basic assumption should be universal service in all business, but I would agree that a few very carefully worded exceptions could be included. Whether people would be allowed to refuse to take photos at weddings of, say, racial groups they would prefer not procreate would be anissue up for general legal debate, but should not be an issue for individual legal cases. Otherwise we're looking at the 1950s south and determining that the black population wasn't really inconveninced or marginalized or degraded as a result of.... what exactly was OK?

      July 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Really-O, I agree it's a shame, but one will realistically have. for a long lone time. There will always be some group that some people would prefer not to do business with.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Really-O, Glad to see you back, btw. I have only stopped back off and on since the original issue so haven't really followed the trend on. the moderation front.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  15. Vic

    ★ ★ ★ ★

    July 4, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  16. Donny

    As a business person I don't understand it at all, a sale is a sale. She stated she has worked with many gay people in the past (wedding planners I'm sure) and I'm sure most of them will now be going elsewhere as well. Where in the bible does it say "Gay people do not deserve flowers?" lol.....I know it goes deeper than that and I'm guessing this store owner isn't a complete bigot, just holding on to her personal beliefs.

    As a gay person planning my wedding (yay Minnesota) I have had NO issues with any companies, all have been too happy to help.....they are happy to have such an influx of new business. If someone decided to not help me because I'm marrying another man it would be upsetting but I would simply take our money elsewhere. Finding someone who would be willing to help and take our money wouldn't be difficult.

    I guess the question comes down to is this woman's religious beliefs being trampled on and/or is she breaking the law? I'll leave that question to the courts and ACLU.

    July 4, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • jazzguitarman

      Yes, this business women's right to service who she wishes is being denied but WA law gives more rights to the consumer than the business owner. But at least we should admit that this is a classic 'whose rights trumps' type of situation. This is way different than SSM being legal since there is no competing rights between individuals in that case. With SSM those trying to prevent it could NOT prove they were harmed by SSM being legal.

      In this business \ consumer case, it appears the consumer does NOT have to proof that they were harmed. The gay guy can buy flowers elsewhere and a similar price so I fail to see where he was harmed. Having hurt feelings isn't being harmed in my book. So I will be interested in how the courts rule here and if harm is a criteria that has to be proven by those suing.

      July 4, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • tb63

      I'm gay and I'd be okay with the business owner's decision. If she had misgivings I'd just get flowers elsewhere. No big deal. Why should she have to do something she doesn't feel right about and why would I want to make her? She offered names of other flower shops. I'd thank her and be on my way.

      July 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The opinions on this blog have no bearing on the fact that the woman in question operates her business in an area where it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. That is why she is being prosecuted. She broke the law, and she is being held accountable. I don't understand what is so confusing about this.

      July 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • tb63

      Fair point. I forgot about the law there. Still, I don't want to do business with anyone who has a problem with me being gay.

      July 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

  17. Strange. Has Daniel Burke frozen out Saraswati as well? One of the more thoughtful contributors?

    July 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • *

      Yes, maybe something in html in her post?

      Has that been confirmed to be one of the recent glitches?

      July 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'm here...did something of mine disappear? I don't use html in my posts which sounds fortunate, if understand this has been a problem?

      July 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Can one reply to this?

      July 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      No, I haven't.

      July 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  18. jazzguitarman

    Tyrone, why are you so filled with hate? Anyhow, polls show that a majority of Americans support SSM. The tide has turned and people with your POV are clearly in the minority. Anyhow, how does what gays do impact your life? It doesn't. Also selling flowers to gays doesn't impact this women's life. She is the one acting like a baby by claiming she will be hurt if she sells flowers to gays. Either way equality won out and instead of gays being the outcast people like you are.

    July 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  19. In Santa we trust

    Actually the SCOTUS is reflecting the will of the people – that means across the whole USA not just the bible belt.

    July 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  20. Rudy

    Let me get this straight (no pun intended): A store owner didn't want to sell flowers to someone because they felt it would violate their religious convictions and instead of simply buying flowers somewhere else, the buyer took legal action? Some people need to get a grip.

    July 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Did you read the story? It says "Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson disagreed, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers".

      The ACLU also filed a lawsuit but the key one here is the one filed by the state. I assume the AG of Washington has a better understand of the law in WA than you do.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Rudy

      Yes, I read the story. The Attorney General found out about it because the buyer took legal action, right? My point is that maybe the seller was violating the letter of the law, but this was really only about someone feeling insulted and getting their feelings hurt and looking for revenge. The buyer knew the seller and probably knew ahead of time what her religious views on gay marriage were. He had plenty of simple options but wanted to make a big deal out of it, effectively bullying her because her religious views don't match his. Like I said, some people need to get a grip.

      July 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • anahadwolves

      you wrote: "A store owner didn't want to sell flowers to someone because they felt it would violate their religious convictions and instead of simply buying flowers somewhere else, the buyer took legal action? Some people need to get a grip."

      How about this? "A store owner didn't want to sell flowers to someone who is black/asian/latino/old/.fat/ugly, so, that person should just go elsewhere to buy flowers."

      Still like your answer? Troll.

      July 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Rudy; If you read my other post I have mention that maybe the law should be revised so that it is a violation only when actual harm or undue burden has been caused. I also said that getting one's feeling hurt or being insult doesn't meet that standard. E.g. say the woman agrees to provide the flowers but at the last second decides not to. That would cause harm to his wedding and to me that would be a legit reason to sue.

      But I see your point that filing this lawsuit was petty. Of course the filing is also to send a message to those that would cause harm or a burden by discriminating. That is wrong (and not just because the law says so).

      July 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      anahadwolves; Why the need to be rude? That just makes you look like a troll.

      I talked to my gay friends about this last night and all of them said they would just go to another store (ok some would give her the bird, but they wouldn't fill a lawsuit).

      Now what she did was wrong, no question there. If there was another store nearby I would just go to that store. Instead of filing a lawsuit I would use social media to ensure those that feel she was wrong no longer use her services.

      July 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Rudy

      anahadwolves – My reply keeps getting blocked even though it contains nothing remotely offensive and despite multiple tries at rewording it. Sorry CNN is preventing us from keeping the dialog going. Nice job, CNN.

      July 5, 2013 at 8:14 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
About this blog

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.