It’s About More Than Flowers

Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll got engaged just before The Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, when the State of Washington was recognizing same-sex marriages.  The couple were longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. The couple asked owner Barronelle Stutzman about arrangements for their wedding.

Stutzman, who is an ardent evangelical, denied the couple’s request saying she could not support a wedding that her faith forbids. “I was not discriminating at all,” she told CNN in 2013. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

The couple sued along with the state attorney general. On February 16, 2017 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The judges sided with Ingersoll and Freed’s argument that their case was about more than access to flowers, just as civil rights cases of the 1960s were about more than access to sandwiches.  “As every other court to address the question has concluded, public accommodations laws do not simply guarantee access to goods or services. Instead, they serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”

With marriage equality now legal in all fifty states, this ruling joins “a growing body of case law rejecting business owners’ claims of first amendment protections as grounds for discrimination,” said Elizabeth Gill, the ACLU’s senior staff attorney and co-counsel for the couple. “It sends a really strong message that for the state of Washington inclusion and acceptance is incredibly important,” she said. “It’s an important contribution to the growing body of case law that rejects the idea that people operating in the public space can discriminate.”

“We’re thrilled that the Washington Supreme Court has ruled in our favor. The court affirmed that we are on the right side of law and the right side of history,” Freed and Ingersoll said in a statement. “We felt it was so important that we stand up against discrimination because we don’t want what happened to us to happen to anyone else. We are so glad that we stood up for our rights.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hayden’s List: The Birth of Our Namesake

JoshScottHaydenbaby  Whether to have children or not was never a question for Scott and Josh Tayloe. The only question was a matter of when.


“When” came as they both turned thirty while living in Jacksonville, Florida and planning their wedding on Cape Cod. “Something just clicked and we knew we were ready to slow down and start the adoption process,” Scott says.


The Tayloes were well aware that the process would be lengthy and would take time. But there was more to it than that. To make an already complicated process even more complicated, Scott and Josh were not legally able to adopt in the state of Florida. Furthermore, many adoption agencies, schools and doctors were not supportive of their decision to become parents. Scott and Josh weren’t even recognized as a couple which made being recognized as parents all the more challenging.


On a trip to Massachusetts to scout out a wedding venue, Josh and Scott happened upon a beach wedding. Nearby, a family was watching – a mom, a dad and their two young daughters. Wanting to see her dress, the little girls asked where the bride was. Scott and Josh overheard the parents say that there might not be a bride and that two men can marry one another just like two women can marry or a man and a woman can marry. A moment later two grooms walked down the aisle. It was a defining moment for Josh and Scott who both knew right then they would not only marry in Massachusetts but that it would also become the setting for their adoption and where they would start their own family. They were wed in July 2011.  Soon after they relocated and started the arduous adoption process in October 2011.


The Tayloes were finally officially put on the adoption list in January 2013. A month later, they were selected. Right away, they met the birth mom,  got to know her and patiently awaited for the arrival of their little boy in April. However, it wasn’t meant to be. The adoption fell through at the last minute when the birth mother decided to keep the baby. Heartbroken and devastated, the Tayloes closed the door to the nursery and didn’t open it for a month.  With the support of friends and family, they weathered the difficult time.  “We have incredible friends a few of which showed up off a red-eye flight at our door the next morning. They brought drinks, food and games and did their best to distract us from the absence of what was to be the weekend we would have brought home our baby boy.” Scott says.


Less than two months later, they got the call again, this time from a woman in Ohio who said she wanted to help a family who couldn’t have kids. The Tayloes drove to Cleveland, met the new birth mom to be as well as her six kids.  They even went to an ultra-sound appointment with her. It was there they saw their baby boy for the first time. “We knew that was Hayden.”  Scott says.


Over the next three months (June-August) Scott and Josh went back and forth to Cleveland to join her for appointments and get to know her family. Her kids wanted to know where their brother would be going to live and knowing how open her family was, Josh and Scott felt very at peace with the entire process.


On August 9, 2013 the birth mother from Ohio went into labor. The adoption agency had prepared Scott and Josh that hospitals in the South and Midwest might not be supportive of a gay couple adopting. But when the Tayloes ran through those hospital doors at 4am when all the nurses immediately said “Are you the dads?” the Tayloes’ nerves were quelled.  They were ushered into the delivery room where Josh and Scott cut Hayden’s cord. After cleaning him up, the nurses asked the birth mom if she wanted to hold the baby. She surprised the Tayloes by saying, “I think his parents should get to hold him first.”


“It was the most surreal, incredible moment of our lives.” Scott says.

Adoption photo

Through the difficulties the Tayloes have endured as a gay couple wanting to adopt, they discovered what little is actually out there as far as resources are concerned. There was no centralized place where one can find out LGBT-friendly hospitals, schools or other service providers and professionals. Because of this experience, Scott recognized that his own family’s needs were not isolated.


And so, fourteen months later, Hayden’s List is born.


“Hayden is our world. And we want him to grow up in a better world than the one we grew up in. We want him to live his dreams and be proud to have us as his parents. We love him more than words can say, and we can’t wait to see him grow into a respectful, successful and wonderful man.”

Scott and Hayden


Tags: , ,

Let Love Rule

let_love_rule_by_oliflys-d3ow5plToday is October 3, 2014.  Why is this day important?  It’s not.  Not really.  Except that it’s one more day that the Supreme Court has yet to take action on what everyone has labeled “gay marriage.”  And yet the issue isn’t really about “gay” marriage (whatever that means).  We don’t know about you, but here at Hayden’s List, we’re tired of this kind of talk.  We want lawmakers to address the real issue here — and it’s not about “gays” and it’s not really even about marriage.  It’s way bigger than that.  It’s about equal rights.  It’s about the spirit of freedom, the very principles upon which this great country was founded.  October 3, 2014 might not seem significant right now.  But we hold a flicker of hope that it will go down in history as one of the last days of its kind.  And so, on this very special occasion, dear U.S.  Supreme Court, we would like to dedicate a song to you.  With all due respect, we hope you hurry up and get out of the way and as Lenny Kravitz says, LET LOVE RULE.

Tags: , , ,