Dear Gays, please stop picking on florists

Gay Couples Sue Florists

As gay marriage becomes legal across the country, gay couples have started suing florists, bakeries, photographers and anybody else who refuses to do business with them. Even churches aren’t safe.

After all, we’re now equal under the law, so if a florist, baker, or photographer is going to cater to a straight wedding, they should be equally welcoming of gays, right?

I cringe at what these couples are doing

It seems we’ve forgotten that we live in a (supposedly) free country. And living in a free country means being free to choose who we do business with.

When we gays fought (and continue to fight) for marriage equality, it was mostly against the government. We’re expected to pay our taxes, obey the law and fulfill our duties to the state like everyone else, so we rightfully have the expectation of equal treatment by our government. If our government offers marriage as a service and benefit to straight people, it damn well better offer the same to us.

When it comes to private business, it’s a different story. Private businesses, unlike governments, don’t usually hold a monopoly on their services. If Betty the Florist doesn’t want my business, I can go to Cindy the Florist. And guess what? There are a gazillion florists looking for business.

If someone doesn’t want to do business with me, that’s their freedom. Why would I want to force them against their will? Are they going to do a good job for me if I did? If I was that florist, I probably wouldn’t supply them with the nicest flowers in my collection. They might get some wilted or desiccated ones in retaliation.

Don’t get me wrong. I would feel extremely hurt if a florist refused to serve me at my wedding because of my sexual orientation. But I wouldn’t take them to court and force them to do it, because I want to do business with someone who wants to be there. I don’t want forced labor at my wedding. Obviously I disagree with their religious beliefs but it’s their right to believe whatever they want.

If a business denies you service because you’re gay, tell your friends about them. Bitch about them on Yelp or bash them on your blog. It’s a competitive world out there and if they’re a truly bad business they’ll get crushed in good time. But come on, suing them? For what? It’s almost like repression in reverse.

We’ve lost our way. As gays, we want others to respect us and leave us alone to be who we are. Why can’t we do the same for others?

18 thoughts on “Dear Gays, please stop picking on florists

  1. “It seems we’ve forgotten that we live in a (supposedly) free country. And living in a free country means being free to choose who we do business with.

    When we gays fought (and continue to fight) for marriage equality, it was mostly against the government.”

    These two statements are absolutely false, and a misreading of the history of our movement, and of American history in general. Please read up, for example, on the Civil Rights movement. Southern (and other) private businesses argued that they should not be required to serve African Americans and other people of color. The courts and public opinion decided emphatically that they were wrong. The individual business owner’s “freedom” does not trump our right to be free from discrimination. I would hope that if you went into a business and they said we don’t serve “Ch**ks” that you would take legal action.

    Similarly, it is not true that our fight for marriage equality was mostly against the government. The government of my home state, Massachusetts, supported marriage equality through its courts. The biggest opponents of marriage equality in California were not governments but conservative churches and in particular the Mormon Church.

    Your political position on this is actually quite extreme and about 100 years out of date. I think you should reevaluate.

    1. I’m glad this was the first comment I saw. Angry Homosexual is wrong about people doing business publicly freely doing business with whoever they choose.

  2. Lemme guess, someone is either a Libertarian and/or Ayn Rand worshiper.

    The fact is we don’t live in perfect competition. People don’t always have the choice of finding someone else to do business with when they’re discriminated against, especially in rural areas. Businesses, especially large ones operating on a large scale, have market power. So no, people operating as a for-profit business don’t have the right to refuse to provide a public accommodation.

    Source: I’m an Economist. Perfect competition is just an assumption we make to make the models hold, it’s not meant to be assumed as a real-world condition.

  3. I 100% respect your opinion but do not tell me a Southern Gay BLACK to accept predudice on any level. I stand for me and mine on my feet and bow to no discriminatory bitch straight or gay! It is my right to seek legal justice how I see fit. I will be the change I want to see…will you?

  4. Bruce M, no his opinion is not “extreme”. It may not be the thinking that you experience, but it is not “extreme”. Simply because a line of thinking is current (i.e., gays are sinners and shouldn’t have the right to marry) doesn’t make it right or good. You provide no good reasons as to why he should reconsider. In fact, it is a perfectly rational line of argument in this context. It may not be the best one, but it isn’t “extreme” or bad.

    In the scenario the article puts forth, my first impulse is to feel hurt and then to get angry. I would consider suing them. Would I think twice if I had to pay their legal fees and court costs if I lost? Yes. One reason many small to businesses do not discriminate is the fear of lawsuits that would drain them financially and drive business away, a potentially fatal one-two punch for business without deep pockets .

    Andrew the economist points out that no, there is not in fact perfect competition (a deeply flawed assumption economists would do well to jettison). As he points out businesses can do real harm to people by refusing to serve them. Additionally these businesses are receiving public services -police, fire, courts to enforce contracts, etc.- which a gay customer’s tax dollars are paying for. So, I have to a little reluctantly side with Andrew.

    1. Dragon don’t you think the third paragraph in my post reminding him of the history of civil rights in this country would constitute a reason to reevaluate his position? I did also mention that under this opinion businesses would also have the right to discriminate against Asians. Would that be enough of a reason?

  5. Relax, people. This of all the articles written is the least grave or deep in importance. It’s the closet thing to a “light-hearted” article an angry homosexual can write! It’s not a political statement about economy. The article is just saying cool your jets gays! Stop suing everyone who disagrees with you!

  6. I think I understand what you’re trying to say but it’s coming out all wrong. What it comes off as is that us homosexuals should just accept the cards that we’re dealt with when it comes to the market. But what I really think you’re trying to convey is this attitude of, “Well if they don’t want my business, FUCK them. I’ll go some where else where my business is appreciated.” And I really hope that’s all you mean by this article because I really hope no one follows your advice to stop fighting discrimination and injustices. It’s a bit frightening to know that you don’t understand what a big deal refusing service to someone is.

    1. Thank you Robert. You have said it well. Maybe I take it seriously but I do love the country of my birth and it’s history. It may seem trivial when we’re talking about florists, but what if the only pharmacy in town says “we don’t serve gays; it’s against our religion.”

      It may also be true that suing a business is too strong a response. Some jurisdictions have a better business bureau that regulates businesses and can investigate. This may seem intrusive to Angry and other Libertarians, but I agree with you, Robert, that the principle of anti discrimination is too precious to toss aside so thoughtlessly.

  7. It seems to me it’s not calling out white people with exacting terms that gets their attention or upsets them. It’s denying them consumer pleasure that really destroys their life today. I say we rally and blockade Michael’s, Ikea, H&M, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sears, Chili’s, Abercrombie and Fitch, Walmart, Target and ebay.com and those antique stores white people love! White people we go crazy and answer your demands!

  8. Most of us learned about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and what that means in junior high. Since you seem oblivious, that means it is illegal to deny a service to individuals based on race, age, religion, sex, etc, along with a long list of other protections. We should thank these people challenging bigoted business owners in the courts, one day sexual orientation will be a protected class under the law because of these challenges.

    Churches will always be allowed to deny marriage to anyone they choose because they are also protected under the Constitution. Catholics deny marriage to divorced people, any church can deny marriage for any reason.

    “It seems we’ve forgotten that we live in a (supposedly) free country. And living in a free country means being free to choose who we do business with.”

  9. @ Bruce

    These two statements are absolutely false, and a misreading of the history of our movement, and of American history in general. Please read up, for example, on the Civil Rights movement. Southern (and other) private businesses argued that they should not be required to serve African Americans and other people of color. The courts and public opinion decided emphatically that they were wrong. The individual business owner’s “freedom” does not trump our right to be free from discrimination. I would hope that if you went into a business and they said we don’t serve “Ch**ks” that you would take legal action.
    —————————–

    these ambivalent comments concerned me to.

    I am glad that you Pointed Out the connection between the social categories and oppressions. While I agree that gays receiving discriminatory treatment / denial of service should make the offending business Public, That they be boycotted, I strongly agree they should be Sued as well. That they be forced to stop hiding behind the hypocritical rhetoric of Religious Freedom in practicing sexual discrimination. CAPITALIST Business owners are rarely concerned about religious views…they are concerned only with MONEY.. .So Hit them where it Counts in Litigation, hopefully with a Huge class action lawsuit!

    All said, at least White Gays, who are often possess Class and Economically privilege, and have much amnesia / Denial around racism, should remember now what the Black Civil Rights Movement was fought for and how White gays benefited tremendously from those social and political Gains that are now slowly being clawed back by the Religious Right! Let us not forget that (White) Gays won their Liberation on the backs of Black Civil Rights!

  10. It’s an issue of basic human dignity, that anyone should be able to walk into any store and not be refused service.

    In the past there were things like whites only drinking fountains, or whites only counters in restaurants, or whites only sections on the bus, etc.

    And at the time, the same argument was made. The excluded people can just get what they need from a slightly different location.

    This wasn’t okay then, and it isn’t okay now.

    When you operate a business, you accept a social contract to serve everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. When you operate a business you benefit from infrastructure, tax incentives, etc. that we all contributed to.

    Want to run a discriminatory business? Find an isolated piece of land, and install your own electricity, internet, roads, etc.

  11. Well, in general, I agree with the author. To me the right to deny service to customers (No socks, no shoes, no service) has been part of mercantilism since before the dawn of time, and IF they give religious reasons for it, then I think it does fall under the rubric of religious freedom because I think that’s fair. And I agree that I would rather have a willing florist for my wedding than one pressed into service through a lawsuit.

    On the other hand the comments above also make some good points. The comparison to black issues in south of “separate but (not really) equal” does make a strong case and I guess it all boils down to how much we, as a community, want to fight to make EVERYONE respect us. From the homophobic pastor to the nut-case right winger florist to the ultra-orthodox cake maker. But can you really legislate enlightenment? If these purveyors of services really wanted to deny service, wouldn’t’ they find some other excuse and use that instead of “I don’t like you, you’re gay”. Like, “Oh, we’re too busy this month, I couldn’t POSSIBLY cater your wedding. Sorry.”

    I think a better approach is the one suggested. Shun those who shun us, and talk with your wallet. Eventually people will get the message. And besides, who wants to spend all their time in court suing people?

  12. Living in a free country should mean living free from discrimination.
    You are confusing 2 very distinct notions of personal freedom and freedom from discrimination in the sphere of economics.
    First means that a baker is not compelled to make gay friends or be friendly to the LGBT+ when he’s out of work.
    Second means that as much as it is wrong to pay women less for the same jobs; it is wrong to prevent gays, blacks, any other minority from using the same commercial services.
    Also having read the posts – your lack of education stands out so much. Maybe if you actually bothered to study hard you would be able to get over all the “traumatic” relationships you had.

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