not just accused, but proven
Houston landscaper accused of bigotry
HOUSTON - A few short weeks ago, Garden Guy was just a mom-and-pop landscaping business that promoted itself as "making Houston beautiful since 1991" and promised to treat its customers with respect and honesty.
Since then, though, the business has been vilified around the world as a bunch of bigots because its Christian conservative owners refused to do work for a gay couple.
Michael Lord and Gary Lackey, a gay couple requesting bids for a landscaping job at their new house, received a polite — and, well, honest — e-mail from Sabrina Farber, a co-owner of Garden Guy: "I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals."
Stunned, Lackey forwarded the e-mail to 200 friends, asking them not to patronize Garden Guy and urging them to pass the word on to friends and family. "I'm still shocked by the ignorance that exists in today's society," Lackey said in his e-mail.
And word was indeed passed on — as fast as the Web could carry it.
Within days, the e-mail had been forwarded to thousands of people around the world, and quickly became the subject of heated and often ugly debates on the Internet. Because of the furor, a professional association of landscapers created a nondiscrimination policy.
A forum on the Garden Guy Web site, normally reserved for discussions about landscaping and shrubbery, was bombarded with angry comments and venomous attacks from as far away as Australia.
Some people attacked the Farbers' beliefs, threatened the couple and their five children, and said they ought to be sodomized. Others condemned gays as sinners headed toward damnation.