Garden Guy Homophobia Applauded By Area Newspaper

The rumble in the jungle over a landscaper refusing to do work for homosexuals has made its way from internet dustup to ithe Houston Chronicle. Columnist Rick Casey does an excellent job of summarizing the event’s details.

At 9:08 a.m. Farber, who together with her husband, Todd, owns Garden Guy Inc., a landscaping company on Hillcroft, hit “send” on a message that delivered a painful blow with the verbal equivalent of a smiley face.

Yadda yadda, webernet firestorm, and then Rick ties a neat bow around the story in his closing graphs.

Were I posting [on the Garden Guy message boards], I would commend the Farbers for standing by their principles in an age where 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.

WHOA. Jesus Chris, indeed.

What does this mean for you, the consumer? As with every other product, it’s advisable to examine potential vendor’s business practice’s. If their webpage has a quote at the bottom urging viewers to visit a website of an organization whose whole reason for existing is the condemnation of your lifestyle and beliefs, maybe you should scroll down a bit on the google results page.

We refuse to work for homosexuals [HoustonChronicle]

Previously: Garden Guy Refuses To Work For Gays


Edit Your Comment

  1. kerry says:

    *dropped jaw*
    Should I start carrying cards stating my religious leanings and potentially objectionable behaviors to hand out to potential providers of goods and services to that they’ll know in advance whether or not they want my business? That sure would make it easier for them to pick out the sinners. Otherwise, I’m still not clear on how the company in question knew the potential customers were gay and how, as this reporter(?) so helpfully suggested, they would know who’s a sinner and who’s not.
    Though, if I remember my Christian theology correctly, we’re all sinners the instant we’re conceived.

  2. bambino says:

    Maybe he was being sarcastic?

  3. acambras says:

    “They should refuse to do business with all sinners.”

    So is that a tongue-in-cheek suggestion?

    Let he who is without sin cast the first decorative lawn boulder.

  4. adamondi says:

    I get a whiff of “publicity stunt” when I look further into this whole story. The company website has bible quotes on it, the people refused business based on the sexual orientation of a potential customer. I wonder if the gay couple saw the quotes and decided to inquire further in order to provoke the all-too-predictable response, just to proceed to publicize the bigotry of the company.

    This is, of course, not an endorsement of the landscapers’ attitude or refusal of business, though. I mean, who is going to be more apt to spend a lot of money on landscaping than a gay couple? Talk about walking past a fountain of profit.

  5. Triteon says:

    Casey is not kidding, or if he is the article is poorly written, as a sarcastic tone does not come across.
    You can write to Rick Casey at P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210, or e-mail him at

  6. RumorsDaily says:

    Here’s the story.

    I can’t tell if the last line is tongue in cheek or not. If it’s meant to be tongue in cheek, it should have been more obvious. If it’s not, well, I guess the Garden Guy isn’t alone in being jerky in Texas.

  7. RumorsDaily says:

    The best part really is that gay couples, since they often don’t have to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars that people dedicate to child rearing, often have considerably more disposal money than their straight/married peers.

  8. adamondi says:

    But yeah, the reporter is obviously being facetious in his “refuse to business with all sinners” line. I don’t see how you guys missed the sarcasm.

  9. MattyMatt says:

    I’m still not clear on which principle it is they’re standing by, exactly.

  10. Hawkins says:

    Yes, the author is being sarcastic. He’s plainly not “applauding” homophobia, but gently chiding the gerdeners.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    Hell’s bells folks…why didn’t you say he was an Aggie? That explains everything.

  12. Lyn Never says:

    It’s the kind of backhanded smackdown that Texans specialize in. Everyone is a sinner, therefore a business that refused all sinners would have no business. It’s a fairly common argument around here, and I’m sure most of the general readership got it.

  13. Yeah, I share acambras’ confusion. Though most of the closing seems sincere, such a wild suggestion seems to edge it over to the side of satire. I don’t know.

    In the interest of clarity though, this isn’t a story but a column. It’s an important distinction to make.

  14. jthree says:

    Sounds like obvious sarcasm to me. Since Christians believe everyone is a sinner, the reporter is implying they go out of business by using their own beliefs against them.

  15. Tonguetied says:

    “They should refuse to do business with all sinners.”

    I agree, this was sarcasm…

  16. chpdookie says:

    I’m with jthree here. He’s suggesting they take themselves out of business by essentially taking no customers. I think you guys are missing an, albeit subtle, point. Maybe the writer read Johnathan Swift’s a Modest Proposal for subtle… and then not so subtle examples of ironic criticism.

  17. Charmander says:

    Yep, sarcasm. Obviously, refusing to do business with all sinners would mean actually doing business with….well, nobody.

  18. mschlock says:

    I read it as an attempt at sarcasm, but one that certainly wasn’t very clear. Yipes.

    However, when I read the forum yesterday before they took it down, I was surprised how NOT inflammatory most of the posts were. In fact, I’d say the most common theme by far was other Christians casting doubt onto the company’s version of Christian values. Interesting that the column barely mentioned that aspect of the reactions.

  19. cooper says:

    RandomHookup, please don’t lump all of us Aggies in with this asshole. Yes, there are even some flaming liberal queers in Aggieland.

  20. FriarJohn says:

    My only disappointment, which I think the article alludes to, is that these business owners haven’t fully implement a business model based on their beliefs. Pandora has done her job, get with the program. They should now refuse to do business with fornicators, non-believers, members of the cults that worship different little old men (or women) in the sky than they do, women who have had abortions, etc.


    But I loves me some capitalism. Free enterprise rules. I also love that the internet enhances capitalism, whether it’s product reviews on Amazon, buyer and seller ratings on Ebay, or how small businesses can be “outed” (pun intended), resorting in business suicide. Or did they did commit suicide?

    While many gay, liberal and even moderates in their area will shun this business (and rightly so), many conservatives and right-wing religious types will give them more business (again, rightly so). I’m sure there are no lack of the latter in Texas.

    The great wheel of capitalism continues on, as it should be. People will vote with their wallets. It’s a beautiful thing.

  21. Malaclypse says:

    Is it just me, or does the title of this post read exactly like the headline of a story from The Onion?

  22. Can’t we just give ’em what they want, and let Texas be its own country?

    Bush could be Emperor, after he is out on ’08.

  23. sonic0boom says:

    Mr. Pee Wee, you should know that Shrub Jr is from Connecticut, not Texas.

    But, yes, Texas should most certainly be its own country.

  24. acambras says:

    Amen, Friar John!

    And sonicoboom, I live in CT and would just as soon not claim GWB — Texas can have him.

  25. adamondi says:

    When did “The Consumerist” become “The Politician” exactly? It seems like a lot of the comments on this post and the other related post are criticizing politics in general, and Texas politics in particular, rather than the consumerism-related aspects.

  26. RumorsDaily says:

    Homophobia isn’t ‘politics.’

  27. clarity says:

    I don’t think the authors comments would be lost on most of his Christian readers (and I would assume, they’re probably the majority there) – the sinners = everyone = working for nobody connection is not obscure to religious people.

  28. skyscraper143 says:

    How can the connection be opaque to anyone? “The Consumerist” is basically about trying to defend the Average Joe against Evil Corporations. However, Evil Corporations would be powerless without their loyal sidekicks, the Evil Politicians.

    For this specific post, the connection would be this mean-and-ignorant Gardening Duo reminds us all about who really is in charge here. It’s just a small example, but we have the Gardening Guys running our country.

  29. I apologize if this is a repost; I think I just got burned by the groovy AJAX.

    How can the connection be opaque to anyone? Basically, “The Consumerist” defends the Average Joe against Evil Corporations. However, Corporations would be powerless without their trusty sidekicks, the Evil Politicians.

    For this specific scenario, these homophobic gardeners serve as a reminder of who is really in charge here. Sure, these two Gardener Guys are a small business, but we have Gardener Guys running the country right now.

  30. ndavies says:

    More importantly, maybe Sabrina doesn’t trust Todd around the temptation of other men.

  31. Triteon says:

    Sky– Consumerist doesn’t take sides; by it’s own definition it’s just a blog. And a consumer, not a political, blog at that.
    Consumerist commentors take both sides. And there are many pro-business posts here. I would say that lumping corporations and politics together as a stereotype is just as bad as combining homophobes and politicians– it doesn’t fly.

  32. acambras says:

    OK, adamondi, I admit my last post about how CT doesn’t want GWB and Texas can have him was a little gratuitous – sometimes I just can’t help myself. ;-)

    But I think this Garden Guy thing has given us a great opportunity to discuss some important issues. While I’m offended by self-righteous homophobia, I believe people have the right to feel however they feel without being subjected to the Thought Police.

    That being said, I’m thrilled that I can make decisions on how to spend my hard-earned money. Sure, there are certain decisions I can’t make (e.g., taxes), but increasingly, we have so many more choices. Don’t want to spend a lot of money on gas? Get a more efficient car, use public transportation, or ride a bike. Feel like you’re getting screwed by your bank, phone company, wireless company, or cable company? There are more options out there than ever before. To make the best out of our decision-making power, we educate ourselves — The Consumerist is very helpful here.

    Garden Guy will likely lose some prospective customers who choose not to patronize homophobes. And they will likely gain some customers who choose to patronize businesses whose owners share their “Christian values.” There is no shortage of piety in Texas (that’s not meant to be a dig, even if I’m a Godless Connecticut Yankee).

    My point is that ordinary people show power every time they make these everyday decisions — this whole issue and the ensuing discussion has helped underscore that.

    Plus, it doesn’t hurt that The Consumerist is damn entertaining.

  33. Triteon, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree about the taking sides. I have yet to read a post on Consumerist that is pro-business at the expense of the end user/consumer. There is definitely a “let’s band together and take on The Man” vibe, no? Not to the point of anarchy and anti-capitalism, of course, but the overall stance is populist. That’s part of the fun!

    And as for homophobes and politicians, well let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for a day when this current administration will acknowledge a gay marriage as anything other than an abomination.

    And with that, I promise not to talk about politics anymore. :)

  34. DeeJayQueue says:

    I think that the commenters in here have a collective bullshit meter that works pretty well. When people whine about stupid shit they could have avoided, or about how a business won’t let them cheat the system, we jump on them for it. Maybe that’s not coming down on the side of the business but we’ll point out when a consumer is expecting unreasonable things or we think he/she has just made up a story or embellished too much to make a point.
    Who knows what the real story is from the land of texas, but I would have liked to have seen some more empirical info on it. Like, instead of just writing a column on it, send a letter in which you make it more or less obvious that you’re gay, and see if you get a similar response back from Garden Guy.

  35. MissPinkKate says:

    Rick Casey was DEFINITELY being sarcastic. Everyone needs to take a breath.

  36. barrister says:

    Two points:

    1. The sinners quote is as clear an example of sarcasm as is possible. Shame on y’all for taking it literally.

    2. This being Houston, the buzz will *attract* many more potential customers than it drives away. Very savvy marketing tool.

  37. neobolts says:

    For those of us that regularly grace southern churches on Sunday morning, the sarcasm is unmistakable. The columnist is taking a jab at the company’s selective moral outrage.

  38. RumorsDaily says:

    Eh, the sarcasm is apparently not entirely clear to those of us non-Christians. I guess we weren’t really his target audience.

  39. Peggy Archer says:

    Well, I’m a godless hussy and the sarcasm was pretty clear to me.

  40. Ben Popken says:

    DeeJay – I wrote Garden Guy an email doing basically what you suggest and haven’t heard anything back from them. It probably got lost in the midst of all the mail they must be receiving.

  41. synergy says:

    Having had Rick Casey write for our paper before he decamped to Houston, I can tell you that it was sarcasm/a snarky comment.

    Oh good. Someone else out there who knows that GWB only claimed Texas because it has so many electoral votes. He was East Coast bred, sadly.

  42. Definitely sarcasm butI can see where the “…I would commend the Farbers…” line would cause confusion.

  43. Alicorn123 says:

    Seems like the Farbers made more of a statement about their business practices when their original email back to Mr. Lord seems to clearly state they were a member in good standing of APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) when in fact the association says they are not. And a recent cached version of their website doesn’t show any of the links that seem to be there now. Just makes me more determined to check out businesses before I use their services in the event I don’t agree with their practices.

  44. stthomas55 says:

    The Farbers own the business. They don’t have to do business with anyone at all if they so choose. If they want to limit their contracts to customers with brown skin, blue eyes, white hair, aged between 26 and 37 below four feet in height who are of the Frisbeeterian faith only, THAT IS THEIR RIGHT!!!!!

  45. KLRHORT says:

    I am shocked. I know for a fact Todd was raised Jewish. Sabrina has brainwashed him. Their kids are home schooled in Sugarland, TX. The Hillcroft address is just a PO Box. I have been in business in Houston,TX for 15 years doing landscape & tree work. We cross paths & I emailed him a nasty one myself. What a shame people still think like that. KLR Horticultural Services 713-723-0028 DOES NOT discriminate. Why would someone EVER do that? Thank you for your time.
    Karen Rockoff
    Texas Master Horticulturalist #4803
    ISA Certified Arborist TX3308
    Licensed Irrigators LI0005789 ( which Garden Guy is not, yet falsely advertises)

  46. davidw says:

    AS Christians do we only do services for Christians? Are we not in this world to make a difference? All these guys wanted was some landscaping. If we as christians cannot do simple things for all people, how can we expect them show them the love of Christ.