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Pa. shop: No wedding gowns for lesbian couple



Published: Fri, August 8, 2014 @ 2:35 p.m.

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bridal store’s refusal to sell wedding gowns to a same-sex couple is stirring debate in a central Pennsylvania town.

The Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg reports the women tried to schedule an appointment but were turned down.

W.W. Bridal Boutique owner Victoria Miller tells the newspaper that “providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”

Bloomsburg Town Council plans to discuss the incident at a meeting Monday. Council members say they will consider whether to propose legislation to ban businesses from refusing to serve gays and lesbians.

Miller’s attorney, Al Luschas, says the shop owner has a “liberty interest” in refusing to take part in a process that would violate “firmly and honestly held religious beliefs.”


Comments

1lajoci(227 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

Here we go!

The Hobby Lobby decision has opened a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences, as yet another business, open to the general public, decides it will pick and choose its customers based on its own "deeply held" religious beliefs.

These silly religious folk need to keep their silly, self-righteous, sanctimonious religious beliefs, deeply held or not, to themselves, or stop advertising themselves as being open for business with the general public.

The holier-than-thou sanctimony of the modern "Christian" right-wingnuts is odious, and, in reality, a most UN-Christian trait.

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2ozzrr66(29 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

I cannot believe people are still so un-openminded. Let them buy a freaking dress!!!!!!

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3Knightcap(697 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

I thought lesbians were men trapped in a female body. Shouldn't they be looking at tuxedos?

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4tired2(15 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

Here we go with someone judging the so called "sins" of others because theirs are different. I am sure they would have no problem charging and receiving a hefty price for a wedding gown for someone who has been living with their boyfriend or fiance for years. I understand they may not approve of same sex marriage but why is that so much more against God's law than other sins their fellow man commits? Perhaps if someone feels they are worthy to judge the sins of others they should not be in a retail business.

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5DACOUNTRYBOY(224 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

Just because there is a circus in town doesn't mean that I or others need to join in on the act.

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6ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(241 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

You have the right to be a lesbian.

They have the right to sell to who they want.

Seems fair to me.

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7joebag09(251 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

I don't understand why someone is gay or not. I wouldn't go out of my way to hurt them in any manner, but (ANTIYOUNGSTOWN) I agree, we all want our "rights" except when it impacts you in a negative manner. They won't sell to you, move on, buy elsewhere.

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8osu882(6 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

As long as businesses and corporations are seen as "people", there is nothing that can be done in situations like this. Do I agree with it? No. But do business owners have this right? Yes.

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9dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

I wonder if this shop is going to make people fill out questionnaires to make sure nobody goes against their religious beliefs before they let you purchase a dress.
Have you had premarital sex?
Have you been divorced?
Have you committed any sin?
I guess I just don't get it. This business sells dresses. They do not perform the ceremony of marriage. I think they must want the controversy just to make the news and get some free advertising.

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10Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

Suppose the Ku Klux Klan comes to town to hold a rally, and needs a catering service to provide dinner for the participants. Should an African-American owned and operated catering business be required to provide this service to the Ku Klux Klan, with no choice, because they are a business “open to the general public”? Should they be forced to provide their employees to serve at the table of the Ku Klux Klan; or should they be allowed the choice to decline to serve the Ku Klux Klan?

I would say they should have the right to decline.

Suppose the Family Research Council (FRC) is holding a seminar on psychological therapies for “curing” people of homosexuality, and they need a printing service to print the programs and brochures for their event. Should a graphic arts company owned and operated by a gay couple be required to provide this service to the FRC, with no choice, because they are a business “open to the general public”? Should they be forced to print this “educational” material for the FRC; or should they be allowed the choice to decline to serve the FRC?

I would say they should have the right to decline.

Discussion of proposing legislation to disallow freedom of choice for certain people who operate businesses, because their choices do not comport with conventionally accepted political correctness, is the most odious thing going on here.

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11dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

I guess going back to "we don't serve your kind" is just right around the corner. I guess we are regressing back to those days.

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12lajoci(227 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

Um, Jerry, the dress shop is refusing to sell a couple a dress not because the couple wants heterosexuals to stop marrying, but because they don't approve of the lesbian couple's lifestyle.

Your analogy breaks down in the 1st instance because the customer, in the first case, is hostile to very people it wants services from; likewise, in the 2nd case, the FRC advocates for the eradication of the very group to which the owners of the printing service belong.

The lesbians are not hostile to any group the dress shop owners belong to, nor, as I said, do they advocate for the eradication of heterosexuality, so your analogy FAILS to provide a suitable parallel context.

Sorry.

(And, further, why would any group patronize a business operated by the very group whose success it opposes? The lesbian couple has no interest in preventing the success of supposedly straight owners of the shop they patronize; I have a hard time imagining the Klan or the FRC insisting on doing business with people whose success they openly oppose.)

Again, bad analogy, Jerry.

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13Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

@Iajoci

So, from this point forward Iajoci will be the divine arbiter of whose beliefs are worthy of consideration for freedom, and whose beliefs are hostile and unworthy of consideration for freedom.

We will all look to Iajoci for guidance as to who is allowed to think what, and who needs to be punished and driven away for not meeting the appropriate standards for their beliefs.

Did it not occur to you that the KKK might think it pretty funny to be able to force an African-American caterer to serve them.

Did it not occur to you that the FRC might seek out a gay owned printing company for the purpose of "helping" them to "see the light"?

Did it also not occur to you that the hypothetical cases were not intended as "parallels"; but simply as alternative scenarios that legislation restricting the choice to deny service would allow.

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14dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month, 1 week ago

so Jerry, answer me this. If you are a coffee shop owner, and a black man walks into your shop, do you believe that you have the right to say, "you cannot be served here, we don't like your kind"? Just wondering. I beleive that a business has a right to turn away a customer who is disruptive, rude, stealing, not dressed appropriately, etc. But not if they aren't doing anything to hurt your business. What if just one of the 2 lesbians went in to buy the dress? I am sure that the shop owner woundn't have even known her sexual lifestyle, and they would have sold her dress and apreciated her business.

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15lajoci(227 comments)posted 1 month ago

Jeeeeeez, Jerry! I thought you were serious!

If you think I'm wrong, give me "what for!" Otherwise, what the heck are you doing here?

Do you seriously expect no one to call you on your shoddy thinking?

Come on, Jerry! You can do better than that! I totally picked apart your argument, and you GOT MAD, and now you're sulking in the corner!

Get real, big boy! This is a big boy blog, and you have to be a big boy to play here!

Being a big boy means you do your best to (a) refute opinions you disagree with, and (b) adjust your own thinking when you find a refutation of it that you can't counter!

If you want to pout and blubber and slurp and sulk, be my guest.

But don't expect to be taken seriously.

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16lajoci(227 comments)posted 1 month ago

And, by the way, no! I don't think the Klan or the FRC would seek out businesses to patronize so they could (a) force them to "serve" a group openly hostile to their very existence, or (b) win them over to a "mainstream" sexual orientation.

You see how increasingly lame your analogy gets the further you extrapolate on contingencies?

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17Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month ago

@Iajoci

Did it occur to you that I have other things to do, have a job, and don’t necessarily check back hourly to see your latest words of wisdom?

Apparently it does not occur to you that trying to “help” gay people “convert” is exactly something the FRC might do.

As another alternative, did it occur to you that the FRC might try to contract the services of a printing company without knowing the sexual persuasion of the owners…….just like the lesbian brides in this case probably did not know the religious persuasion of the owners of the bridal shop when they first called?

Likewise, did it occur to you that the KKK might not realize that the catering company they are trying to contract is owned by African-Americans?

The point is there are any number of scenarios that make the hypothetical cases I have proposed valid, and the bigger point is that there are any number of other examples that could demonstrate how the unintended consequences of allowing the government to force people to act create a very dangerous road to go down. This is the point that apparently eludes you, as you propose and support legislation that is specifically going to target one specific group for protection, and target another specific group for restriction of their choices. Who gets to decide what group(s) are to be protected, and what group(s) are the next to be restricted and controlled? You??

I cannot violate your rights by refusing to assist you in doing something……not preventing you from doing it, but simply exercising my right to refuse to help. Not taking affirmative action to assist you cannot possibly be a violation of your rights. On the other hand, forcing me against my will to assist you, forcing me to participate in an activity or action that I do not want to support, is very definitely a direct violation of my rights.

You have done nothing to pick apart any arguments; you have done nothing except hurl insults and attempt play the race card.

I am now done with you. Feel free to take the last word.

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18lajoci(227 comments)posted 1 month ago

Jeez-oh-peets Jerry!

I said your analogy was bad, not that YOU were bad!

I said your analogy was lame, not that YOU were lame!

I was totally focused on your reasoning, and you turned it into a big blubbering pout-fest about my attitude, which you totally inferred and passed judgment on because, I assert, you had no clue about how to answer the SUBSTANCE of what I was saying!

My original response to you pointed out specifically where I thought your analogy failed. No personal insults were hurled; I didn't attack you personally (Heck -- even if I did, so what? I don't know you from Adam, and vice versa, so who cares? Seriously!)

But you came back all sarcastic and snide about my being some sort of "divine arbiter" that everyone should look to for "guidance" in helping them "see the light," just because I have an opinion.

Well, sorry, Jerry. YOU turned it into a personal thing. I, on the other hand, was sticking to the issues.

So, shame on you for not being able to tell the difference.

YOU are exactly what's wrong with Republicans and Baggers in this country, who cannot discuss issues and hear their arguments refuted without getting hostile.

And your hostility betrays your fundamental weakness, namely that your positions are indefensible outside the right-wingnut bubble. As long as you are among true-believers like yourself, you can spout your weak opinions ad nauseam; meet with a little reasoned resistance and you crumble like a cookie -- a weakness typical of bullies.

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19dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

Jerry, you never answered my question in post #14. Do you believe you have that right in the hypothetical question I posed. I know it uses a black man, so before you say that I am using the race card, I am not. Just asking where the right of the owner stops. Thank you.

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20JS(648 comments)posted 1 month ago

So just what does a black man who likes coffee have to do with two lesbians who want the support of others to get married? Lesbian lifestyles and a black man drinking coffee have nothing in common.

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21dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

First of all, your name isn't Jerry, so I wasn't asking you. What does the KKK have to do with anything in Jerry's comments? My point is certain people think that businesses open to the public have the right to not serve anyone they want based on religion, lifestyles, color of skin, nationality, etc. So I was asking a follow up to JERRY to see what his stance was.

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22JS(648 comments)posted 1 month ago

Lesbians are in a group that clashes with the values of others just as the KKK is a group that clashes with the values of others.

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23dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

KKK is a group that clashes with blacks, so why is my question so far off. If you are a white business owner who has a problem with blacks, do they have a right to turn them away? Not a hard question. It wasn't even a question directed for you to answer, unless the J in JS stands for Jerry.

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24ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(241 comments)posted 1 month ago

So, if the KKK orders coffee in a business that is owned by a black person, the business should serve the KKK?

I wouldn`t blame him if he didn`t. I feel it was against the black owners beliefs.

His business, he could do what he wants.

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25dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

Forget the stupid KKK, what if it was just 2 ordinary white guys, you know, not wearing hoods or carrying burning crosses! Should the black business owner have the right to tell the 2 gentlemen that they don't serve white people in tis establishment?

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26DACOUNTRYBOY(224 comments)posted 1 month ago

A real controversy would be two white lesbians who are members of the KKK going to a black Christians bridal shop who didn't support the gay way. Would you fault him in any manner for not wanting to do business with them?

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27steivo(511 comments)posted 1 month ago

I have a solution for the bridal store. Only carry petite gowns with slim waistlines. Most of the lesbians are fat girls who can't get a man. voila - problem solved unless the left wing extremists are going to tell the store what sizes of gowns they should carry.

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28dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

Another woman friendly comment from the right sided STEIVO. I'm sure u reel in the women left and right.

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29Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month ago

@dontbeafool

The question about a black man being denied service in a coffee shop is an off-topic straw man, designed to require an extended answer. The inquiry is put forward with the hope that I will not take the time to respond, or with the hope that whatever response I make can be used to paint me as some sort of bigot. However, since you have asked me specifically & repeatedly, and since I have no reason to mistrust YOU specifically; I will endeavor to answer.

The case of refusal of service for reasons of race, gender, or ethnicity is distinctly different than the case of the bridal shop in question here (see more below).

First, however, let me acknowledge that I have reservations regarding any laws that tell us what we MUST DO, as opposed to laws that tell us what we CANNOT DO. I am very much OK with laws that tell us we cannot act to prevent someone else from doing something they have a right to do. I am not at all OK with laws that tell us we must take action to assist (offer service to) other people to help them do something, even if we do not want to assist or participate. The civil rights laws dictating that business owners must offer service regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity were obviously necessary in the 1960’s. I am not against them, but It is not so clear how much they are still needed today; and they have definitely taken us one step down a slippery slope, allowing the government to dictate what actions we must take…….leading us to the discussion we are having right now, which is yet another huge step further down that slippery slope.

Why is refusal of service based on race, gender, and ethnicity different than the case of the bridal shop at hand? Because race, gender, and ethnicity are things that people ARE; which is an entirely different matter than what people DO or WILL DO (actions they will take)
.
The lesbian brides in the case at hand are not being refused service for what they ARE. The owners of the bridal shop are refusing service because they do not want to participate-with and facilitate the actions that the brides are planning to DO; the owners do not want to take affirmative action to participate and assist with a homosexual wedding. The bridal shop owners are not trying to prevent the brides from conducting the wedding, the owners are refusing to take action to assist.

I understand it is your opinion that the bridal shop owners’ opinion is wrong, and that they should not be offended by the concept of a homosexual wedding; but do we really want to create laws to force them to comply with your opinion? Who is to decide whose opinion is right, and whose opinion is wrong? Who is to be the “divine arbiter” telling us what we are allowed to think and what actions we must take? Me? You? The Government??

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30Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month ago

@dontbeafool: See, I told you it would be a long answer.

The two hypothetical cases I proposed earlier are simply extreme examples of the unintended consequences that could be associated with the line of thinking that allows laws forcing business owners to offer service to “all”, with no right to refuse. What other, less extreme, examples of unintended consequences might crop up? If we start forcing some people to do what they do not want to do, where will we draw the line? Who will draw the line??

I cannot violate your rights by refusing to assist you in doing something……not preventing you from doing it, but simply exercising my right to refuse to help. Not taking affirmative action to assist you cannot possibly be a violation of your rights. On the other hand, forcing me against my will to assist you, forcing me to participate in an activity or action that I do not want to support, is very definitely a direct violation of my rights. If the government can force these business owners to take action to actively support a homosexual wedding ceremony against their will today, what might the government try to force me to do against my will tomorrow?

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31dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

Jerry, thank you for your answer, which was well put, without any name calling. My point is somewhat the same as yours, although in a different direction. That is, it is a slippery slope. Obviously, it would be nice if everyone was polite and kind to one another, regardless of how they are different, and it would be nice if laws weren't needed for such. Obviously at one time they were needed, as the racist era showed. From those laws, people of all races can walk into a place today and receive service without being harassed. So I think those laws bettered the country. Now we are talking about a dress. And because the owner doesn't like the customers lifestyle, they are denied service. I can see if it was a pastor who refused to marry them, but we are talking about a dress, a cake, invitations, a reception hall, etc.... This is where the slippery slope comes in, allowing other business owners to turn away others simply because they don't like something about the customers. I don't like Jews, or it is my belief that interracial couples don't belong together, or that woman was divorced twice, so I won't sell her a dress. That is my concern. These people are way too involved in the details of their customers private lives if you ask me.

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32Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 month ago

@dontbeafool

I understand your position and I think that, even if we disagree on specifics, we are more alike than not.

I guess I agree with you that our perspectives differ by which side of the slippery slope we each think we are on. From my perspective I think we are sliding down the slope of way too much government power and control. Yes, it would be nice if everyone just got along, but that is not likely and, in my opinion, government intervention will muck things up, not make it better. Yes, due to the laws of the 60’s anyone can get service anywhere regardless of race…………..but government force has not exactly given us racial harmony, has it? Could things have been better if the social growth had been more organic, with less governmental intrusion?

You indicate that you can understand if a pastor would refuse to perform the wedding ceremony but, in my opinion, you are supporting precedent that could be used to lead to laws forcing a pastor to perform the ceremony. The pastor is “providing a service to the public”, so if we’re going to have such laws, why would they not pertain to pastoral services as well? Who is to decide??

Again with regard to Jews or inter-racial couples, the argument comes back to what people ARE vs. what people DO. Yes, it would be wrong to deny people service because they ARE Jews. However, should it be ILLEGAL for the Muslim caterer to decline to assist the Jewish congregation of the local synagogue with food service for their public seminar about the Israeli perspective on the current situation in Gaza?

You indicate that these people are way too involved in the details of their customer’s lives but, from my perspective (again), they are asking to not be involved in their customer’s personal lives at all; and you are arguing for enacting laws that force them to be involved against their will.

My perspective is that I do not trust government with power, that all government and laws should be very tightly restricted, controlled, and minimized, and that this is a step too far.

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33dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

My only thing I wanted to clarify about some business owners being too involved in the customers personal lives is this. What I meant was, if a customer comes in to order something, the business owner's only concern should be to provide their product or service to the customer without needing to know all aspects of their personal lives. I.E. If a customer wants to buy flowers for a wedding, they should only ask what kind, what color, and how many. They shouldn't ask, who are you marrying, have you been married before, or are you currently living in sin. Just sell your product!

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34JS(648 comments)posted 1 month ago

Defiling Christianity does have its supporters far beyond lesbians getting married and demanding support from others to get their wedding gowns. What if a satan worshiper came into a Christian bookstore wanting to buy crucifixes to dip in urine for his artwork, must he be accommodated?

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35dontbeafool(901 comments)posted 1 month ago

Oh jeez. JS you are one extreme individual. Loosen up just a tad. You are one of those people who wake up every day and start looking for someone who is trying to attack your religion. They are YOUR religious beliefs, NOBODY can take them away from you.

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36DACOUNTRYBOY(224 comments)posted 1 month ago

The liberal view is, "loosen up and go with our flow". No pun intended toward the desecration of the crucifix. Somewhere in the element of time the day will come to carry out the garbage.

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37HSG(123 comments)posted 1 month ago

The market will dictate who wins and loses here.

The shop can continue to narrow its list of appropriate customers 'til it doesn't have any. Any serious business person operating a physical 'shop' as opposed to on-line had better decide to accommodate customers' needs regardless of race/politics/gender etch, because SOMEBODY WILL ACCEPT THE BUSINESS AND THE CASH THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT!m isn't that the American way?

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38steivo(511 comments)posted 1 month ago

EXACTLY

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