Why would a business owner turn away paying customers in these hard economic times? For one Washington florist, it’s because of Jesus.
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, refused to create floral arrangements for the wedding of a same-sex couple because of what she said was her “relationship with Jesus Christ.” Now she’s being sued by the state for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, which is illegal in Washington.
Since Jesus never speaks specifically about homosexuality in the Bible, how he might have felt about gay marriage is a matter of conjecture.
But we do know how folks who patronize florists feel about marriage equality, thanks to market research data. From across Washington state — from Puget Sound to the Palouse — what the data show is:
People who buy flowers are more supportive of same-sex marriage than the population as a whole.
This finding was among the results that market data firm Scarborough Research obtained after surveying 4,378 people in the Puget Sound region and 1,955 people in Spokane and its surrounding counties last year. The accompanying chart illustrates the finding.
So at least in Washington state, if customers are “saying it with flowers,” they may be saying something else as well about marriage equality.