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Controversial florist stirs back-and-forth on social media

Anna King

Business is bustling at the Richland florist who faces a lawsuit over same-sex marriage. The florist says she was standing up for her Christian values when she refused to sell flowers for a gay couple’s wedding. Now, the case has become a focal point of intense debate on social media across the globe. 

On Arlene’s Flowers' Facebook page, right alongside advertisements for corsages and boutonnieres, there are hundreds of posts for and against same-sex marriage. 

Now there’s even a Boycott Arlene’s Flowers Facebook page. It has more than 500 likes. One of the hosts is Mark Nathan Lee of Richland. He says the two court cases brought against Arlene’s owner are now garnering worldwide attention.

“I am constantly getting messages from all over the country and all over the world saying, ‘Oh I grew up there I know what you are dealing with. Can I help you?’" said Lee. 

The owner of Alene’s Flowers declined to comment, but her lawyer, Justin Bristol, compared his client to Rosa Parks, saying, “She’s not going to get out of her seat. She’s got her convictions and ... her beliefs.” 

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.