This post is also available in: Português
In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality across the nation. We mention that only because it seems like some people didn’t get the memo, like Stuart DiNenno, owner of Botanica Atlanta Landscape Design in Atlanta, Georgia. He recently refused service to a gay couple because he refused to go “along with the delusion of two men calling themselves a married couple.”
The Botanica Atlanta Landscape Design page on Yelp has already begun to get flooded by negative reviews including one which shows a racist Facebook post allegedly made by DiNenno and another (below) in which seemingly refers to a “sodomite” gay couple.
The gay couple in question posted about their experience on the Yelp page for Botanica Atlanta Design Landscape. They wrote, “Contacted today about a very large project in Sandy Springs. The owner asked if the work was for me and my wife, I said no me and my husband and he replied that he wouldn’t be interested in working with us.”
DiNenno replied to their review, writing, “Yes, this is an accurate description of what happened. When doing a large landscaping project it is necessary to work with the homeowners closely over several months through the design and installation phases. I can’t do that, all the while going along with the delusion of two men calling themselves a married couple, with one man referring to the other man as his husband. It’s very perverse and foolish, and needs to be called out as such.”
Keep in mind, DiNenno’s foolish bigotry is an illustration of why LGBTQ community opposes “religious freedom” laws that allow businesses to deny services to queer people on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
DiNenno doesn’t mention religion, but the idea that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that same-sex couples are “perverse” are both rooted in religious ideology.
And he’s just the most recent example. In addition to the wedding cake baker and the Christian florist who both refused to create work for same-sex couples, there has also been at least one pharmacist who refused to give meds to a trans woman.
Giving people the right to refuse LGBTQ people service based on their beliefs towards queer people not only renders us second-class citizens in a conservative Christian theocracy, but it some cases it serves to humiliate us, deny us the dignity of celebrating life events and even kill us.