Says rights don't allow discrimination

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 6, 2013 

This is in response to a recent letter bemoaning the poor florist in Richland who is in legal trouble after she discriminated against a same-sex couple. The writer was concerned that Christians were losing their religious freedoms.

Any business owner will tell you that to operate in the free market, you have to follow the law, and the law is pretty clear. You may not discriminate against your customers based on race, sex, orientation and yes, religion. Would you be as quick to defend their business if the florist believed that Christians had no right to purchase wedding flowers? Imagine the outrage if a florist refused to provide centerpieces for any ceremony involving a Bible.

The florist has First Amendment rights; they can choose to spend their days off lobbying to keep their friends and neighbors from living with the partner of their choice. But strong convictions do not exempt you from the law. It doesn't matter if you are a florist in Richland or a Jim Crow-era diner in Alabama, you can't discriminate against your customers.

Riley Sweeney

Bellingham

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