April 17, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Richland florist refuses sale to gay couple
Florist had the right to refuse service
Compelling a florist to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not a principled stance [“State sues Richland florist over gay wedding,” NWWednesday, April 10].Let’s turn this around and imagine a gay caterer who is asked to provide food at a minister’s conference about preaching against homosexuality. Should he be compelled to do this? Of course not.
Maids, midwives, florists, caterers, piano tuners and massage therapists are not required to provide their services in a private setting where they do not feel comfortable. They may or may not be in the right morally, but they are not breaking the law.
Lara Updike, Bothell
Will case be taken to the Supreme Court?
As a business open to the public, state law prohibiting discrimination in places of public accommodation requires the florist to provide services without regard to sexual orientation [“State sues Richland florist over gay wedding,” NWWednesday, April 10]. The attorney general has both the authority and responsibility to uphold this law.
The florist’s attorney has argued that creative expression is protected by the First Amendment under the free-speech umbrella and that the state cannot compel a painter to paint, a singer to sing, or a floral designer to arrange flowers, because the U.S. Constitution trumps state law. I find that to be a compelling argument and one that could ultimately land this case before the U.S. Supreme Court. This is one to watch.
Rob Sargent, Newcastle
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