OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON — (06-06-19) — Washington state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state courts ruling against Barronelle Stutzman and her business, Arlene’s Flowers, who refused to serve a gay couple, did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding.
Stutzman filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case in 2017, but the the high court kicked the case back to the Washington Supreme Court in June 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court, which had just ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, directed the state court to reexamine the Arlene’s Flowers case in light of that decision.
The Supreme Court upheld its 2017 opinion that found Barronelle Stutzman and her business, Arlene’s Flowers, had unlawfully discriminated against Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed by denying them service on religious grounds in 2013.
“After careful review on remand, we are confident that the courts resolved this dispute with tolerance, and we therefore find no reason to change our original judgment in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop,” the state Supreme Court wrote in a 76-page opinion. “We again affirm the trial court’s rulings.”
Washington Supreme Court Rules Against Florist who Refused to Serve Gay Couple
“We are thrilled that the Court has reaffirmed its ruling in our favor,” said Freed and Ingersoll in a statement to the press. “Discrimination hurts, especially while planning what should be one of the happiest times of your life. We hope that this ruling will prevent what happened to us from happening to others.” said Freed.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington who represented Freed and Ingersoll in the case, applauded the decision in a statement released Thursday.
“We are pleased that the Washington State Supreme Court recognized that the Masterpiece decision does not give people a license to use religion to discriminate,” said Michele Storms, executive director of the ACLU of Washington. “Religion is a fundamental right, but businesses open to the public must be open to all.”
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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