|As witnessed by these posters, anti-gay groups can change talking points quickly.|
When it comes to the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington State florist who was found guilty of breaking that state's anti-discrimination laws by refusing to serve a same-sex couple, anti-gay groups had to play a quick game of message switching.
At first, she was portrayed as a Christian grandmother who was in danger of losing her home, business, and life-savings supposedly because she was "standing up her her values" against evil government officials and lgbts attempting to "make" her "participate" in marriage equality.
However, when the news came down that she actually refused to accept a settlement from Washington State's attorney general of $2001, quicker than Diana Prince would change into Wonder Woman on the 1970s television show, anti-gay groups suddenly transformed her into a person who would not sell out her values even if this could possibly, but really not proven as would, cause her to lose her life savings, business, and homes.
That's not to say though that one particular anti-gay group isn't brazen enough to push both talking points at the same time.
This afternoon, I received an email from the anti-gay American Family Association:
Barronelle Stutzman has rejected a deal by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson that would have forced her to betray her religious beliefs and start providing flowers for gay weddings.
"You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver," Stutzman wrote in a letter to Ferguson. "That is something I will not do."
. . . Feeling the heat from the Christian community, Ferguson had offered to settle the case if she paid a $2,000 penalty for violating the Consumer Protection Act, a $1 payment for costs and fees, and agreed not to discriminate in the future.
First of all, the claim that Ferguson was "feeling the heat from the Christian community" and offered to settle because of it is a lie.
According to the Huffington Post:
Washington's anti-discrimination law allows for penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, as well as legal fees. The state will likely seek those against Stutzman individually as well as her business, a spokesman for the attorney general's office told The Associated Press.Hence the settlement offered to Stutzman, with the extra dollar for court costs. And there is nothing which said Ferguson was pressured to bring down court costs. Also, Stutzman had to agree not to discriminate in the future and to end further litigation (which I think is the very sticky part because I envision Stutzman's team of lawyers, from right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom, wants to take this case as far as it can go).
Now here comes the part of AFA's email which makes me scratch my head:
He's using the full power of his office to personally and professionally destroy her," ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner told FoxNews' Todd Starnes.
"I certainly don't relish the idea of losing my business, my homes 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," Barronelle wrote in a letter to the attorney general.
How in the world is Ferguson trying to destroy Stutzman? The man offered to settle with her for $2001. Is $2001 all of what her business, home, and life savings is worth? If so, she is not that good of a businesswoman.
Stutzman is a symbol, but not a heroic one. She is symbol of a petulant population of folks who were bamboozled to vote for these anti-marriage equality laws without realizing that there was no way they could defend their mess in court.
And when they lost, they are using their "faith" as an excuse to obtain special privileges to discriminate.
And now Stutzman is allowing herself to be used by folks who clearly don't have her best interests at heart. This controversy is not about religious freedom or liberty, but discrimination against same-sex couples who have fought and fairly won the right to marry under the law. And the folks using Stutzman is going to take it as far as they can.
If they win in bakeries and flower shops, how long will it be before they use the same arguments with regards to renting to married gay couples or employing one half of a gay couple, or (dare I mention it but I've learned not to put anything past these folks), hospital workers treating one half of a gay couple?
How long, indeed?