A friend of mine brought this article to my attention at the end of last week: http://news.sympatico.ca/oped/coffee-talk/florist_refuses_to_provide_flowers_to_same-sex_couples_wedding/7ec6b3e2
To summarize, it’s an article about a florist that refused to provide a same-sex couple with flowers for their wedding. Basically, the florist stated that same-sex marriage was against her religious beliefs, so she refused to provide them with her service. This florist is in the wrong, legally speaking. Read the article to find out why.
After reading this article and talking to my friend about it – we both got fired up. Initially, our reaction was “How dare they!” and “I hope that lady loses her business!” But then I thought about it a little more, and realized that’s absolutely what I don’t want to happen.
The absolute best thing that could come out of this situation would be that this florist gains some understanding of the group that she is discriminating against! I wouldn’t expect this particular person to all of a sudden agree with same-sex marriage or change her religious views, but I’d hope that the florist might be able to open their mind a little because this situation occurred.
I thought about the alternative. What if this person loses their business? This could only cause them to be more jaded and have negative feelings toward the group that seemingly put them under. What progress will this serve? If anything – this will make things worse! I don’t believe that huge fines or a loss of a business is really going to rectify the situation – either for the couple who were refused service, OR the business owner.
Thinking about this situation really helped open my eyes to understand how fighting fire with fire usually just makes the fire bigger. Sure, we’ve all had this revelation at one time or another, but when it’s put into context it really makes a whole lot of sense. I only wish things were this simple, and that everyone could face situations like this with more of an open mind. What if the florists legal punishment (instead of huge fines and possibly losing her business) was to spend a minimum number of hours or days getting to know this couple and understanding them better? Maybe this business owner would then realize that they are people too, just like her. The two parties don’t have to agree on their religious views, or even where to have lunch – but maybe spending some time together would help both sides of this battle understand each other.
It would be great if in all battles, instead of war – everyone sat down and broke bread with open minds and hearts. If we all took time to understand each other better, we’d probably realize we’re not all that different from each other – and that it’s OK for people to have different views and opinions. Not everyone has to believe what you believe, and conversely, you don’t have to believe what everyone else believes! We all do, however, have to coexist – hopefully if we approach situations with more open minds, we can do it more peacefully.