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Opinion >  Letters

Distinction in Stutzman case

The April 12 interview with Richland florist Barronelle Stutzman should be required reading for anyone who cares about freedom.

In the interview, Stutzman notes that the gay couple who requested flowers for their wedding had been customers for years. She considered them friends. Even today, after her livelihood has been threatened, she says, “If Rob (Robert Ingersoll, the customer who requested the flowers) comes in, I would give him a hug and catch up on his life.”

So where is the discrimination? It was clearly not about Ingersoll being gay. It was about the event. Stutzman was asked to provide services for an event that she did not believe in. The discrimination was not about the people. It was about the event.

How can we not see this as a vital distinction? Certainly, all of us have the right to decline being part of an event that is not consistent with our beliefs and values. Would any conscientious caterer think twice about refusing to serve a racist rally?

In a free society, we don’t tell people what to believe. We also cannot tell people what events they must attend, even as a business. Otherwise, freedom is pretty much meaningless.

James Becker


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