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Barronelle Stutzman, florist gay rights,

Barronelle Stutzman

Eight years ago, florist Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richmond, Washington refused to serve a gay couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, for their wedding. The couple was deeply hurt by her decision because Ingersoll had been a long-time client of the flower shop.

"After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we canceled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again. We had a small ceremony at home instead," said Robert Ingersoll in a statement.

The couple sued the shop with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union under Washington's anti-discrimination law. The rule states that businesses that are open to the general public cannot refuse to serve someone based on their sexual orientation. The law specifies that this form of discrimination is illegal even if it's based on someone's sincere religious beliefs.

Stutzman, who was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) claimed that her "religious freedom" granted her the right to discriminate against the couple and that being forced to sell flowers to them violated her freedom of speech.


According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization has a long history of promoting homophobia:

"The Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a "homosexual agenda" will destroy Christianity and society."

The case went all the way to the state's Supreme Court who unanimously ruled against Stutzman.

The Court believes that selling flowers to a gay couple for their wedding wasn't an endorsement of same-sex marriage. "As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism."

However, the fight didn't stop there. Stutzman filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case back to the state of Washinton to take another look. A year later, the state reaffirmed its decision. Then, the case was sent back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court denied a petition by Stutzman and her lawyers in July of 2021, over the dissent of conservative judges Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito.

Earlier this month, the court battle came to an end when Stutzman agreed to withdraw her petition and agreed to pay $5,000 to Ingersoll and Freed. The couple has agreed to donate the money to an LGBT youth charity.

Her lawyers say that Stutzman is "at peace" with the settlement because she can "finally retire with her conscience intact, and she knows that the legal effort to protect the artistic freedoms of creative professionals" will continue in other challenges.

The couple hopes that their hard-fought battle means that other same-sex couples won't have to endure the same discrimination they did.

"We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did," Ingersoll said in a statement.

Stutzman fought against providing flowers for a same-sex wedding because she believed doing so violated her religious beliefs. But does she understand that her high-profile court cases stretching over eight years probably did much more harm than good for her faith?

The number of people who identify as Christian has been on a steep decline for the past 10 years in America and a major reason is the religion's views on LGBTQ issues.

If more people went out on a limb to promote the ideas of peace and love that were at the core of Christ's teachings, they'd bring a lot more people to the faith than by making sacrifices to promote intolerance.


Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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