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 Good Always Outweighs The Bad

As mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Alex Morse receives many letters, phone calls, tweets and Facebook messages that criticize how he runs the city. But last week, Morse received a letter at his home that was different. This letter targeted his sexuality and had a threatening tone. “Alex, you are one of the most selfish people that I know due to your ‘gay’ lifestyle,” the note began. “You are going down.” There was no return address, and no name at the bottom.

Morse, who is openly gay, said he decided to make the message public to bring awareness to what he sees as the challenges ahead, as hate crimes are on the rise since the Donald Trump won the presidential election. “It’s a more threatening message than usual, and given the context of the culture that seems to have been elevated since the Trump election, I thought it was important to shine a light on this language and behavior,” said Morse.

Since receiving the message, Morse said there has been an outpouring of support from his community. People have called and left messages at his office and expressed concern, he said. More than 400 people have left comments on Facebook, calling the note “sick” and “disgusting.”

“Like any community, be it in Holyoke, Mass., or anywhere else across the country, there are going to be people who are small-minded and bigoted,” he said. But, he added, “I know that the good always outweighs the bad.”

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We Agree With Trump (kind of)

Yes, you read that right. We agree with President-Elect Trump on ONE issue, the safety of US citizens.

During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July and one month after a terrorist attack in a gay nightclub that killed 49 people, Trump promised to keep the LGBTQ community safe. “As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump told the crowd at the Republican Convention.

Here at Hayden’s List, we agree that the President of the United States should do everything in his or her power to keep all Americans safe. But not just from foreign threats of terrorism but also from discrimination and hate crimes. We hope that President-elect Trump uses everything in his power to protect LGBTQ citizens from those threats also.

WATCH: Trump Makes Promise To Protect The LGBT Community

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President of Indonesia Stands Up Against LGBTQ Discrimination

Last week, Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Ministry banned LGBTQ people from entering the competition for the “Creative Youth Ambassador.” The ban questions if the LGBTQ community are “physically and mentally healthy.”

This comes after months of increasing anti-LGBTQ sentiments from politicians and officials and several anti-LGBTQ directives by government institutions. At the time, the Human Rights Watch described the movement as a “sustained assault” against the LGBTQ community.

Now President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made his first public comments against this escalating discrimination against Indonesia’s LGBTQ community. “The police must act [to protect them]. There should be no discrimination against anyone.” President Widodo stated.

Kyle Knight, a LGBTQ researcher at Human Rights Watch said President Widodo’s statement signals that the “…administration is keen on cultivating an Indonesia that is inclusive and safe for everyone.”

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Surprise! Trump Supports LGBTQ Discrimination

“If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.” – Donald Trump

What is the First Amendment Defense Act? The Act bans the government from taking any action “action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Basically this law would legalize ALL discrimination against LGBTQ people in all areas, from employment to retail to healthcare, as long as the person discriminating claims it was due to their religious beliefs.

With a running mate like Mike Pence, who as Indiana’s Governor signed into law the controversial, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are we really surprised?

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