Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said on Fox News over the weekend that he has no problem with designers refusing to dress incoming first lady Melania Trump, but he wondered where that tolerance is when it comes to business owners opposed to same-sex marriage.
"I kept thinking of the language of so many of the cases you and I have talked about — about bakers, photographers and florists who've said, 'I will serve people, but I won't take part in certain same-sex ceremonies, those kinds of things,'" Fox host Shannon Bream said. "It seems like that idea of freedom, of who you serve and what you do and don't do — that debate is starting all over, but from the left."
In response, Perkins told Bream liberal "tolerance is a one-way street," adding that he's "fine if they don't want to serve" the Trumps because it's their "right."
I'm fine with designers declining to dress the Trumps. I'm not fine with the double standard, as Christian wedding… https://t.co/GBkzjYKC65— Tony Perkins (@Tony Perkins)1479701626.0
"If they're in business and they don't want to be forced to have to make a dress for somebody, to serve as a caterer — if they don't want to do that, they shouldn't be forced to," he said. "But you're right: It's a double standard."
Perkins noted the Washington state case against Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, who was fined $1,001 by the Benton County Superior Court in 2015 for objecting to create a floral arrangement for the same-sex wedding of her longtime buyer Robert Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, in 2013.
In addition to the fine, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has also filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the 70-year-old businesswoman. Now, not only is Stutzman at risk of potentially losing her business, she may also have to forfeit her life savings and retirement assets.
Her case went to the state's Supreme Court last week.
"There is clearly a double standard," Perkins reiterated. "But, look, I think people should be free to engage in business with whom they want to. They shouldn't be forced. We live in a free society."