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.”

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The Most Powerful Vice President Ever

Earlier in Donald Trump’s campaign, before Mike Pence was chosen as his running mate, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, explained how Trump would run the country. He said the vice president of the Trump administration would really be the Chief Executive Officer or President of the company, seeing to the day to day operations. While Trump would act more like the Chairman of the Board, more hands off and be available when needed.

Manafort said “He [Trump] needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO…  There is a long list of who that person could be.”   And now we know: that person is Mike Pence. Manafort’s quote and other commentary has suggested that Pence could be “the most powerful vice president ever.” Pence’s first duty is chairman of Trump’s transition team?  Filling all the major positions in the incoming Trump administration.

The main problem with the power shift to Pence is that he is one of the most anti-LGBTQ, evangelical Christian politicians to serve in Congress and as governor of a state. His history includes supporting conversion therapy, stating that marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse” and calling homosexuality a choice. Pence has said that stopping the LGBTQ community from marrying wasn’t biased, but was rather about compelling “God’s idea.”  After all, he was the one who, last year, signed the anti-LGBTQ Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.

If Manafort’s predictions are correct, Trump will take a ‘hands-off’ approach on LGBTQ issues and allow Pence to get his way.  In fact, the assault on LGBTQ rights is already underway. That’s why we must pull ourselves out of grief, get fired up, and begin the fight right now.

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More Than a Distraction

Did you hear about VP-Elect Mike Pence’s visit to the Broadway show Hamilton? The cast had a message for Pence and President-Elect Trump about inclusion that they shared after the performance. You can view it here.

Trump did not enjoy the message and fired back on Twitter, stating that the cast of Hamilton harassed Pence.

Evening talk show host, Seth Meyers, is arguing that Trump is using this event as a distraction for what has become a messy transition to the White House.

“President-elect Donald Trump prompted new questions this weekend about his foreign business ties to potential conflicts of interests — questions Trump responded to by picking a fight with the cast of a Broadway musical,” said Meyers on Monday’s Late Night.

Meyers pointed out that New Yorkers never would have bet Hamilton, an award winning show, could get even more publicity, but Trump was able to make it happen.

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LGBTQ Civil Rights Update

We’re all about LGBTQ friendliness here at Hayden’s List. Some have asked us – is Hayden’s List even needed? Our response – same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states however did you know that in 30 states it is still legal to discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity? What does this mean? The LGBTQ community can legally be discriminated against in the workplace, in housing, in restaurants, and other places that serve the general public. Now, many cities within these 30 states have nondiscrimination laws that apply within that city but it’s still shocking to know the LGBTQ community isn’t protected everywhere. Curious what the laws are where you live? Check out this very informative video.

Also, did you know, 36 states do not ban discrimination against all LGBTQ students in education. “So in a majority of states, LGBTQ students have no explicit legal protections in schools.”

Studies have shown that nondiscrimination laws reduce signs of prejudice. “These effects occur because anti-discrimination legislation can create social norms that govern what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviors to display toward stigmatized individuals.” The public is not accepting because of the threat of the law but these civil rights “set the morals of a community”.

So we now have same sex marriage, but we still have a long way to go.

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Help Indiana!

Help Indiana!

Heyyy Hoosiers!

We love the stand you’re taking against Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), an act designed to give businesses and individuals a license to discriminate against LGBT because of “religious” beliefs.

We know not everyone is hateful and while we’ve heard enough of the bad lately, we want to hear from the good!  We’re not out yet in Indiana but we’re on our way.

Last month we came out in Birmingham because people took a stand and stood up.  Every voice counts.  So, c’mon and raise your voice, Indy!

Know of an accepting pastor or church or massage therapist?  What about an excellent lawyer or doctor or financial advisor?  Let the larger community know.  Review them today.

And if you’re in Indianapolis, get involved and take action.  Join Freedom Indiana
in front of the capital tomorrow morning.  Urge lawmakers to reject legalized discrimination.

We are all Hayden’s List.



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