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Houston fundie landscapers turn down working for gays — and gain business

I read about this and several of you passed on information about Garden Guy Inc., owned by a “Christian” couple — Sabrina and Todd. The firm, located in Houston, sent an email to a gay couple telling them that they don’t do business with homos.

Of course this news traveled around the blogosphere, and in response, the company lost two clients, but actually picked up $40K worth of business from Houston bigots wanting to take a stand in favor of discrimination. Nice. (NYT):

“I’m not saying that to gloat,” said Mrs. Farber, who described the frenzy as ugly and emotionally draining. But she said they would not do it differently and deserved credit for not masking their refusal with excuses.

“Why can’t people handle it when you say the truth?” she said.

One of the two gay clients, Gary Lackey, said, “We’re hoping things would die down,” and declined to comment further in a telephone interview. The other member of the couple, Michael Lord, did not return a call.

The law appears to be on the Farbers’ side, said Lisa Graybill, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “The federal law of public accommodations says if you hang out a shingle or open your door you don’t get to say, “Only to whites,” Ms. Graybill said. But sexual orientation is not protected. And while some localities, like Seattle, have adopted ordinances extending antidiscrimination protection to gay men and lesbians, she said, Houston has not.

And yes, the Farbers clearly do have the right to do it, but it doesn’t make it the correct thing to do. The kicker is that the company’s slogan is “Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation.” Apparently it matters whether the landscaper’s clients are partnered with the biblically approved gender. Last time I looked, the grass they cut doesn’t have an orientation, but hey. I’m glad these people made it clear what their priorities are. It’s sad that they picked up business because of their homophobia, but perhaps this will energize the gay community in Houston to address this kind of discrimination with an ordinance.

What the article mentions, and what the Farbers seem to be clueless about, is that they probably deal with LGBT citizens every day, and they don’t know it — yet another reason for gay folks to come out of the closet. These are the bigots that don’t want to believe their mailman, their auto mechanic, teacher in the classroom, or pray tell, their pastor might be gay. Their world is shrinking, and they deserve all those clients whose homophobia leaves them looking like the horse’s ass.

In addition to the criticism of the Farbers, there was also widespread support. Mrs. Farber cited one e-mail message from “Eric in St. Louis,” who wrote: “Life to the Farbers who have planted themselves like solid oak trees against these strong winds of perversion.”

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which condemned the Farber’s actions, has instituted an instituted an anti-discrimination clause for members in good standing (Garden Guy’s membership had expired).

You might want to surf over to Dan L.’s pad, Move On and Shut Up; he actually addresses my anti-blogger LaShawn Barber’s take on this.

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Quite frankly, who wants to give your hard-earned dollars to bigots who are so flagrant? Hey, if I’m going through the yellow pages and see the “Fish,” I keep on flipping. Down here, you see cars flying by with all varieties of fish, families of fish, and Kate’s favorite, which she saw on the highway plastered on a minivan:

Of course, I already have this on the back of my homo-loving F-O-R-D Focus (hi Don Wildmon):

I may look at getting a few more.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding