Florist Marina Plowman made a decision to not deliver some flowers to a 16-year-old. Why? well because the 16 year old does not believe and fought to remove a prayer banner at her public school. As a result the florist is now being sued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Rhode Island Superior Court on 25th Jan.
The article there reports …
Annie Laurie Gaynor, co-president of the Madison, Wis.-based secular group, said she asked a Wisconsin florist to send flowers to Ahlquist with a note of congratulations and encouragement. That request was turned down by several florists in Rhode Island, including Plowman’s Twins Florist. The lawsuit says Plowman responded to the request to send the flowers with a note saying, “I will not deliver to this person.”
She said her jaw dropped when she heard back from her florist that several florists had refused the order.
“We have never encountered a situation where we couldn’t send flowers to someone because she was an atheist,” she said Friday.
The lawsuit says she also told a TV station: “It’s my freedom of speech. I refuse orders when I want and take orders when I want.”
Ultimately, a florist in Putnam, Conn., delivered the flowers.
Was that really the right move, suing a florist who appears to be simply expressing her view by not sending flowers? Surly she has a choice who she will or will not send flowers to? Some might indeed take that stance, but give it a bit of thought and you quickly find that what FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) did is perhaps the right move, after all, they were the ones who tried to place the order and so it is they who were discriminated against.
To help you clarify this a little, we can replace the word “Atheist” with another word so that it becomes a little clearer. Suppose the Florist had declared “I will not deliver to this person.” because they were gay or asian, or for that matter black, would you be OK with that, or would you be outraged? Well that is exactly the key point, you don’t get to discriminate like that.
Once you start going there where could you draw the line? Imagine you were ill and going to a hospital and being turned away because they were catholic and you were not, that would indeed be outrageous, so why is this any different? That is essentially why I fully back the FFRF on this.
The lawsuit is not about money, they are willing to settle out of court, not financially but simply with an apology and an acknowledgement that they were wrong. As reported in the article …
Plowman’s lawyer, Christopher Orton, said they had discussed settling the dispute before the commission but the group wanted Plowman to acknowledge she discriminated against them, something that was not acceptable to her, he said.
“She clearly believes she did not,” he said. “She denies it.”
He called the lawsuit frivolous.
Gaynor said she wants Ahlquist to get her flowers, and she also wants Plowman to send her group some flowers, as well as an apology.
“This is very little to ask for,” she said. “This is a teachable moment.”
The only reason this has gone to court is because this Florist is being a complete twat and refuses to simply say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry”. Having a belief is just fine, but the moment you permit it to be an excuse to discriminate against others who hold either a different belief or no belief at all, you have crossed the line.