Florist exercised 1st Amendment rights | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following letters to the editor are in response to Courier-Herald editor Ray Miller-Still’s editorial that ran in the Aug. 3 edition of The Reporter.

In his editorial about the Arlene’s Flowers court case, Mr. Miller-Still called Stutzman’s legal team, Alliance Defending Freedom, “a right wing nonprofit that the Southern Poverty Law Center designates a hate group…”

This is an ad hominem argument, that is, attacking an opponent’s character and motives rather than debating the issue.

He showed this by also saying, “I urge you to not only consider the information being presented, but also where this information comes from.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has done good work in bringing KKK malefactors to justice, but it has wrongly labeled the Alliance Defending Freedom a hate group simply because they do not agree with its position.

Alliance Defending Freedom is a group of lawyers that defend people whom they believe have had their First Amendment rights violated. They are not at all like the KKK or the Nazi party. Their literature is not hateful.

Arlene’s Flowers did not refuse to provide service because of who its customers are — that would be discrimination. It refused to provide flowers for the same sex wedding because it does not wish to show support for such a wedding.

This is its First Amendment right.

Brent Begalka

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