Connecticut Florist Delivers Flowers To Atheist Teen After Four RI Florists Refuse
The Cranston prayer banner debate shifts to flowers as businesses refuse to deliver to the teenage girl at the center of the battle. The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Wisconsin had to go out of state to find a florist to deliver flowers to the Cranston West teen, after four other Rhode Island businesses said "no thanks" to the order.
Co-owner of Glimpse of Gaia Florist Sean Condon, drove all the way from Connecticut to deliver the flowers to the atheist teen who won the lawsuit against her school over a prayer banner. Cranston West was ordered to take the banner down. It's temporarily covered, pending the school committees decision on an appeal.
Condon said, "I think we don't discriminate against people for any reason."
The anti-religious group wanted to send Ahlquist congratulatory flowers, but four different florists in Rhode Island refused.
Owner of Twins Florist in Cranston, Marina Plowman, was one of the businesses to reject the order.
Plowman said, "It's my freedom of speech I refuse orders when I want and I take orders when I want."
Plowman said part of the reason why she rejected the order was because of the warning that came with it. It said Ahlquist was under the public eye and the deliverer would need to show id to prove they weren't a threat. It was a warning that Plowman says helped make her decision.
"I mean it's not worth it for me to do that," she said.
Floral Express was the second to turn the order down saying they'd be closed on the day of delivery. We checked, and the door was locked. The third business to deny delivery to the teen was Flowers by Santilli.
Owner Raymond Santilli said, "we have beliefs as well as the individual that's in the middle of all this, and we just feel that it's better for us as a business and the city itself just to stay away from this and not to cross the lines."
A warwick florist had agreed to the order, but later withdrew. Ending the flower efforts with Sean Condon. He says almost immediately after delivering the flowers he started receiving harassing phone calls.
Condon said, "That we should be ashamed of ourselves for delivering to that girl. She sounded like a middle-aged woman and this is a teenage girl so I thought to myself I'm not so sure I should be the one ashamed of myself."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Wisconsin says they are filing civil complaints against the florists that refused their order.