Discrimination Against a Gay Man Occurred and it was Completely Legal
I don't know what it is about businesses refusing service to LGBTQ people but I do know that I'm tired of it. First the Masterpiece Cakeshop debacle and now this. Colton Southworth and his husband were denied service specifically because they're a gay couple.
Southworth and his husband had recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia and had dreams to transform their lawn into a beautiful garden. Colton researched different lawn services and found Botanica Atlanta Landscape and Design.
Southworth was enamored by the work of landscape business and decided to call the owner, Stuart DiNenno. That's when things went south, according to 11 Alive.
Colton explained the details of the work he wanted done on his lawn to DiNenno, who asked if Southworth wants this done for him and his wife. He explained that it's actually for him and his husband, to which DiNenno responded with the fact that he does not want to work with a gay couple. Southworth, not knowing what to do, simply said "ok" and hung up. Disturbed by this conservation, he went to Yelp and left a one-star review and recapped the conversation with DiNenno.
DiNenno saw the review and commented
"Yes, this is an accurate description of what happened. Large landscaping projects take several months." I can’t do that, all while going along with the delusion of two men calling themselves a married couple…It’s very perverse and foolish."
What a stand up guy... I wonder if he's ever heard of Obergefell v. Hodges? This is very clearly discriminatory and inflammatory, calling the union between to men a perversion. According to DiNenno, his company specializes in large-scale projects that average over $20,000. One would think that he would welcome Southworth for the monetary gain, but the business owner's bigotry is just too strong.
DiNenno recounted his phone conversation with Southworth in a Facebook post, saying ""I average about one or two calls per year from sodomites or lesbians. I always turn them down." He has also said that his religious beliefs say that gay people should be put to death.
Despite denying service to someone based on their sexuality, what DiNenno did was completely legal due to the fact that in the majority of US states, there is no protection from discrimination for LGBTQ people. One may question why that is, seeing as it would be illegal to discriminate against someone based on their skin color or sex.
This instance is just one of many that shows that LGBTQ activists must keep fighting for equal rights. Many may think that because LGBTQ people gained the right to marry in 2015 that we have achieved equality. Evidently, that is not true. It is imperative that LGBTQ people and our allies keep fighting for what is right.