Entries in Florists (2)


Florist Sued for Refusing to Provide Flowers for Same-Sex Wedding

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(RICHLAND, Wash.) -- A florist who reportedly refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding because of her religious beliefs is being sued by the Washington State Attorney General.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Benton County, came almost two weeks after Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he sent a letter to Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., asking her to reconsider her decision.

Stutzman is accused of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a public place.

When ABC News reached Stuztman at her flower shop on Wednesday, she declined to comment on the lawsuit.

On March 1, Robert Ingersoll, a longtime customer, visited the shop and told Stutzman he wanted to order flowers for his upcoming wedding, according to the complaint.

Stutzman told Ingersoll she was unable to provide flowers for his wedding "because of [her] relationship with Jesus Christ," according to the complaint.

At the time of the alleged denial, Stutzman was aware Ingersoll's "upcoming wedding for which he was seeking to purchase flowers would be to another man," the complaint stated.

"The fact that Mr. Ingersoll, a gay man, was seeking to purchase flowers for his wedding to another man was a substantial factor in [Stutzman's] refusal to sell him flowers," the complaint said.

Ferguson is seeking a permanent injunction that would require the store to comply with Washington's consumer protection laws and pay at least $2,000 in fines.

It was the second case in recent months in which a same-sex couple said they were denied service while planning their wedding.

A lesbian couple went to Sweet Cakes, a Gresham, Ore., bakery on Jan. 17 to order their wedding cake, but said they were told the bakery didn't serve same-sex marriages.

Aaron Klein, who owns Sweet Cakes with his wife, Melissa, told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV he was living in accordance with his religious beliefs when he refused to make the couple a wedding cake.

"I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn't mean to make anybody upset, [it's] just something I believe in very strongly," he said.

A complaint was filed with the Oregon Department of Justice; however a spokesman told ABC News that the couple said last month they planned to move the complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman heard about the plight of the brides-to-be and said he would bake them a wedding cake free of charge.

"I want to give them a big hug and say congratulations," he told ABC News in February. "It involves cake, it involves love, marriage, all things I'm a big fan of."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Is Kissing Under the Mistletoe Dated?

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The tree has been trimmed, the presents have been placed beneath it and chestnuts are roasting on an open fire as you relax and sip eggnog.  But  one item seems to be  missing from the holiday scenario this  season: a traditional branch of mistletoe hanging in the doorway.

A  massive drought in Texas is no doubt  a major contributing factor in the mistletoe shortage this year.

The Texas drought has been described as one of the most crippling in the state’s history. Throughout October, parts of the Lone Star state, along with Oklahoma and Louisiana, experienced 50 to 70 percent “exceptional drought,” which is the worst form.

This has caused  much of this year’s mistletoe -- a hemi-parasitic plant that grows on a wide range of host trees -- to look weak and colorless. A higher price tag for the plants, coupled with dire economic times has led many to pass on this traditional holiday symbol.

Gardel Prudent of Gardel’s Greene Garden told The New York Times that it would have cost approximately $5 for a finger-size sprig, and that the profit margin is so thin that it’s not worth selling. He did not order any mistletoe this year, he said.

Still, many florists said that despite the steep price, demand for the specialty plant is just not what it used to be.

Perhaps the kissing under the mistletoe custom -- which originated in Scandinavia -- has become dated and will soon become history.

“It does seem to be fading out,”  said longtime florist Georgeann Strakosch of Big Apple Florist in New York. “Even when I was at a place that had it we didn’t sell it much."

“They don’t move very quickly,” Strakosch continued. “I don’t get a lot of requests, maybe two calls a year.” Strakosch no longer stocks mistletoe, and she’s not the only one.

“I stopped selling it a couple of years ago. I don’t get a big call for it,” Lee Herman of Palace Florists in Washington, D.C. told ABC News. “The wholesale isn’t that expensive, but to throw out a bunch of boxes is. It’s Dec. 22, and I’ve only gotten one call for it.”

“I think it’s losing its story, fading out a little,” a clerk at Ballard Blossom Inc. in Seattle told ABC News. “We don’t carry it. … Two people have asked for it out of hundreds we help each day.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio