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Friday, April 24, 2015

Expenses paid, one presumes.



Barronelle Stutzman, the martyred florist of Richland WA who says she is struggling to save her business from the oppressive hand of marriage equality activists, is taking the weekend off to be a second-tier keynote speaker at a $250-a-plate dinner for the Center for Arizona Policy's Family Dinner. The big draw for April 25 event is the perpetually dyspeptic Charles Krauthammer.

Her dinner bio says she is notable for being "a 70-year-old grandmother, [who] owns Arlene's Flowers in Washington. Barronelle faces the loss of her home, retirement, and business after referring her long-time friend and customer to another florist because her faith prevented her from using her creative skills to design custom arrangements and support services for a same-sex ceremony. "

In addition to Krauthammer, Stutzman will share the podium with ACP's president and the Governor of Arizona.

Waldo has been predicting for some time that Stutzman would do something to jump start her flagging gofundme.com "pay me for discriminating" campaign.

The campaign, which started February 23, 2015, was stalled out until April 4, when the Memories Pizza gofundme campaign was closed out after raising $842,000 for the Indiana shop whose owners rejected the custom of any gay couples wanting catered 'za for their same-sex nuptials.

With Memories Pizza's table cleared, Stutzman became the flavor of the week (Memories Pizza is also an ice cream parlor). She doubled her money almost overnight; since then she has raised just $10,000. No one has posted anything on the "Stand With Barronelle Stutzman" page on Facebook since April 2.  On April 7, the Memories Pizza family told the UK paper The Daily Mail they are sharing an undisclosed cut of their haul with Stutzman. Both campaigns were set up and run by the same conservative business.

The notion that this case has dire financial implications for Stutzman is specious, a concoction she and her lawyers dreamed up. She is getting her legal services free. The Attorney General of Washington and the gay couple she rejected have both said they are not trying to ruin her financially; the court has awarded the State $1 in costs, and fined Stutzman $1,000. The couple's damage claim is $7.91 in mileage finding another florist: their legal representation is also being provided by a nonprofit legal group. She has even said, in one of her television interviews, "It's not about the money."

Stutzman's business income from all weddings is 3% of her sales. She is suing- with more free legal representation- the state and the gay couple to recover her damages; if she prevails, she will not be out of pocket at all. If she doesn't, her downside is virtually nil. She has offered no public proof that her business has suffered overall. She has not reported turning down any other same-sex nuptials work. Stutzman is only involved in the case personally because the Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits using corporations as shields against liability for barred discriminatory acts that drive her company's decision; Arlene's Flowers had a written nondiscrimination policy that banned just the sort of discrimination she decided to practice. 

By any measure, Barronelle Stutzman will make a handy profit on this business.








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