Washington Florist, Fined $1,000 For Refusing Gay Wedding, To Receive $100K or More In Online Donations

An online fundraising campaign for a Washington Florist who was fined $1,000 for refusing to provide flowers for a gay marriage has raised nearly $100,000, The Seattle Times is reporting.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, refused to provide flowers for a wedding for one of her regular customers - a gay man. For years, she gladly sold flowers to Robert Ingersoll, but when he asked the florist to provide flowers for his wedding, she drew the line, saying that supporting a gay marriage in such a way would violate her religious beliefs as a Southern Baptist.

Ingersoll filed suit, and a court world later rule that the florist broke the law. She was fined $1,000, plus $1 in court costs.

"It's about freedom, not money. I certainly don't relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important."
On February 23, user Tom Savage created a GoFundMe page to raise money for Ms. Stutzman's anticipated fines and legal fees.
"I am a friend of Barronnlle Stutzman and work for the legal organization helping Barronelle defend her constitutional rights. I am doing this campaign with her knowledge and cooperation... Funds may be used to help cover any outstanding legal fees and costs imposed from the opposition. Funds may also be used to help replace the assets taken as a result of the legal challenges brought against Barronelle. The total cost to Barronelle is unknown because the legal challenges are ongoing."
At first, the florist's online fundraising site didn't get much traction, but that all changed when news of a similar online fundraising campaign for an Indiana pizzeria broke, according to KPTV (Beaverton, Oregon). Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, was forced to shut down after threats and demonstrations, following the pizzeria's owners' public statement that they would refuse to cater a gay wedding, if asked. After the story broke, an online fundraising campaign for the owners quickly raised over $800,000 ($842,000, as of this post).

The Washington florist's online fundraising campaign went from having raised a few thousand dollars to nearly $80,000 in about 24 hours, thanks to the Memories Pizza story. And the fund is still growing, with one anonymous donor pledging $5,000, and another donor, who identified himself as Wilbur Nelson, donating $3,000, with the message, "Thank you for your courage."

As of this post, the online fundraising site for the Washington florist has raised just over $102,000.

[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Agnes Kantaruk]