Originally published on Advocate.com February 27 2004 1:00 AM ET
San Francisco's florists have been overwhelmed by orders from people as far away as Australia who are paying for flowers to be delivered randomly to the gay and lesbian couples getting married at City Hall. The requests from same-sex marriage supporters have come from some surprising places: Minneapolis; Atlanta; Kalamazoo, Mich; even Hong Kong.
"It has just exploded, skyrocketed, spread like wildfire," said Him Phan, owner of Flowers by the Bay, whose shop has processed more than 200 orders. "We've been bombarded with phone calls, and we knew we couldn't handle it alone, so I've been calling other florists in San Francisco, asking, 'Please, guys, help!"'
Michael Ritz, co-owner of Church Street Flowers in the city's Castro district, has taken many requests by e-mail for bundles of red roses, hyacinths, irises, and daffodils and delivered them to City Hall, where more than 3,200 same-sex couples have wed so far. "To the Happy Couple," read cards from the Church of Minnehaha in Minnesota. "Straight but not narrow-minded," said one from Atlanta. "Love you in Norway," wrote one distant well-wisher.
The flower deliveries seem to have started last week after two gay coworkers in Minneapolis, Greg Scanlan and Timothy Holtz, each decided to send a bouquet to a random couple as a way of supporting the same-sex unions. They telephoned Phan's shop, which has a rainbow flag on its Web site, and asked that the flowers be delivered to any of the couples waiting for their marriage licenses. "I wish I was there," Scanlan said. "That's the only hard part--being this far away. I'd love to be there delivering flowers."
The men then sent an e-mail to friends and family encouraging others to send flowers to the happy couples in San Francisco, and their message was quickly forwarded and written up in Web logs around the globe.