WASHINGTON D.C. — (07-02-21) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, declined to review a case over a Washington state florist’s refusal to service a wedding for a same-sex couple, letting stand Washington state court’s ruling that the florist engaged in unlawful discrimination over sexual orientation.
The case, Arleans Flowers v. Washington, No. 19-333, began in 2013, when Baronel Stutzman turned down a request from a longtime client, Robert Ingersoll, to provide flowers for his wedding to his fiancé, Kurt Freed.
Florist Stutzman said her religious principles did not allow her to do so. She said she should not participate in same-sex marriages, which were recognized in Washington last year.
“Since 2012, gay couples across the state are free to act on their beliefs about marriage,” Ms Stutzman wrote, “but because I follow the biblical teaching that marriage is a marriage between one man and one woman, marriage is between one man and one woman.” Milan, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.”
The decision by SCOTUS to decline the case shocked conservatives as they were depending on the conservative packed 6-3 majority to rule in their favor. In fact conservatives have been eager to wade into legal fights over whether nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people are at odds with the First Amendment. This was a major blow to their goals.
SCOTUS REFUSES TO HEAR ANTI-LGBT FLORIST APPEAL
At least four members of the Supreme Court must vote in favor of granting a petition for review in order for SCOTUS to hear a pending case.
According to a tally published by the Supreme Court on Friday, Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas voted in favor of taking up the case.
The lawsuit was brought in 2013 by Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, who were turned away by Arlene’s Flowers, a flower shop based in Richland, Washington, simply because they were looking for a florist for their wedding.
“After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we canceled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again,” said Ingersoll in a statement. “We had a small ceremony at home instead. We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did.” said Ingersoll.
Ria Tabacco Mar, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represented the Gay couple, was overjoyed with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it “confirmed that LGBTQ people should receive equal service when they walk into a store.”
“No one should walk into a store and have to wonder whether they will be turned away because of who they are,” Tabacco Mar said in a statement. “Preventing that kind of humiliation and hurt is exactly why we have nondiscrimination laws. Yet 60 percent of states still don’t have express protections for LGBTQ people like the kind in Washington State. Our work isn’t over yet.”
Conservatives are furious that their 6-3 packed Conservatives court continues to not deliver for their causes.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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