“The open-minded see the truth in different things: the narrow-minded see only the differences.” — Anonymous

Here’s one to stir the pot on a Monday morning. Rick Casey, a columnist at the Houston Chronicle, recently provided commentary about a landscaping company that refused to perform work for Michael Lord and Gary Lackey, a gay couple building a home in the historic district of Houston Heights. It’s an interesting read and he concludes that it’s a nasty world out there. The original column can be found at We Refuse to Work for Homosexuals and part two at Landscapers Reap Harvest of Anger.

I wanted to point out two comments from another post on this topic at The Consumerist:

“I wonder what that policy is intended to accomplish. Did they hope Michael would weigh his options, and decide it was easier to straighten out than to forego their valuable sod? And what do they think would happen if they did do work for a homosexual? ‘Damn, that wily butt-pirate tricked us into installing a decorative boulder. Now we’re one step closer to the end of marriage!'”

Here’s a view from the other side:

“I don’t see anything wrong with what the landscape designer did. As a matter of fact I think Sabrina (at the Garden Guy) was right to be ‘straight’ about their business decision. Because that is a business decision. People are not always going to believe the same things and we all make economic decisions based on our convictions. I choose to never eat at CrackerBarrel because their majority owner is the Southern Baptist Church and for years they had an employment policy that did not include homosexuals. I think they have changed it but I still don’t ever go there. Also, I resent any restaurant that forces people to wait in their gift shop for twenty minutes before being seated. The point is I don’t understand the outrage. There are always other people out there that are happy to take our money and ultimately we make the decision where to place it.”

Yes, we do make the decision where to place our money. But do businesses have the right to discriminate and refuse service just because we’re gay. Apparently, that’s the case in Houston. Houston, we have a problem.

Back in 2004, a Seattle, Washington business refused to print wedding invitations for a same-sex couple. Austin Cline writes, “It’s not OK for someone to discriminate on the basis of race, but it should be OK for someone to discriminate on the basis of ‘personal moral or religious convictions.’ When people recoil from selling wedding invitations to an interracial couple, we call them bigots; when people recoil from selling wedding invitations to a same-sex couple, they are suddenly heroes of the Christian Right and lauded for standing up against political correctness.”

“Dismissing laws that ban discrimination against gays because this forces people to go against ‘personal moral or religious convictions’ would create the same loophole in all other anti-discrimination laws. Such a loophole was not allowed before and there is no reason why it should be created now. Yes, people who don’t like gays will suddenly have to treat them like everyone else – but I have no more pity for them than I do for the people who have to treat blacks, Jews, or women just like everyone else. If you have a ‘personal moral or religious conviction’ against treating gay, black, Jewish, or female customers like everyone else, then don’t open up a public business.”

Rick Casey concludes his commentary on the gay gardening scandal with, “I commended the Farbers (Garden Guy owners) for standing by their principles in an age in which money trumps all. They might, however, consider climbing up one more rung on the moral ladder. They should refuse to do business with all sinners.”

Gay or straight, we’re all sinners in the eyes of the Christian God. But straight money must be less sinful according to the Farbers. Everyone has the right to spend their money where and how they see fit. But can business owners refuse to take my money just because I’m gay?