Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY/KTKN) - A controversy has erupted in Ketchikan after a florist allegedly refused service to a same-sex couple planning on getting married.
Ketchikan resident Kathleen Varela said that a local shop, Heavenly Creations, denied her service for her son's wedding last week.
"We attempted to support a local business today, Heavenly Creations, by asking them to provide the flowers for my son's upcoming wedding," Varela posted on social media on Thursday. "We assumed this florist would welcome the support and business of its locals. It never crossed my mind that our request for flowers, of all things, would be denied due to this being a wedding celebrating, legally, the love of two grooms. It was honestly, a shocking blow that left me heartsick."
In response, a peaceful gathering was held at the city float and several hundred supporters gathered at the location.
Facebook user Sandi Blair stated, "Love is Love and there was so much of it today! This was so much more than wedding flowers. I adored seeing how much love was showered on these sweet young men. It did my heart good to see such an overwhelmingly positive turnout. So much love to you Tommy Varela and Stephen as you begin your forever together!"
According to Varela, Safeway in Ketchikan stepped in and will do the floral arrangement for the wedding.
"The store might not be 'as local,' but the loving and caring way we were treated by the locals that work there have made all the difference," Varela posted. "Today, my faith was restored in the kindness of others."