A same-sex couple in Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada, arranged with a florist, Petals and Promises Wedding Flowers, to provide flowers for their upcoming wedding. The day was drawing nearer, and plans for the day were finalized. But then Petals and Promises sent an email to the engaged couple.
"I must respect my conscience before God and have no part in this matter," wrote Kim Evans, the owner of Petals and Promises Wedding Flowers, to the couple. She then nixed the order, leaving the couple without a business to provide wedding flowers.
Make no mistake: Evans has the right to hold whatever religious beliefs she wants about same-sex marriage and LGBT issues. But as a business open to the public, it is against Canadian law to refuse service to someone on the basis of sexual orientation. Moreover, Evans and Petals and Promises initially agreed to provide flowers for the wedding. It wasn't until later that they pulled their business, by writing an email to the couple that labeled their relationship immoral and against God.
This is unacceptable. The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission should investigate Petals and Promises for fostering discrimination, and should hold the business accountable for not serving all residents of New Brunswick.
Per this article (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2011/03/16/nb-riverview-florist-1009.html), Petals and Promises initially agreed to provide flowers for a same-sex couple about to get married. But once the owner of Petals and Promises found out that the flowers were for a gay wedding, the owner cancelled the order via email, saying simply: "I must respect my conscience before God and have no part in this matter."
Individuals are entitled to their own religious beliefs and social positions on the subject of same-sex marriage. But businesses in Canada are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, which is clearly what Petals and Promises is doing in this situation. Had this been a straight, heterosexual couple, Petals and Promises would have provided service. But since it's a same-sex couple, the business (despite initially agreeing to provide flowers) is nixing the order. That's unacceptable.
I urge you to investigate Petals and Promises for violating anti-discrimination law, and to hold the business accountable if you find that it did indeed discriminate against this couple.
Thank you for your time.