SCOTUS grants appeal for florist who refused same-sex wedding

Barronelle Stutzman, center, a Richland, Washington, florist who was fined for denying service to a gay couple in 2013, is surrounded by supporters after a hearing before Washington’s Supreme Court in Bellevue on Nov. 15, 2016. (via NBC OUT)

WASHINGTON — NBC OUT reported on Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court has the appeal of a florist who was fined after refusing to sell flowers to a gay couple for a wedding.

From NBC OUT:

Monday’s action sends the florist’s case back to the Washington state courts “for further consideration in light” of the decision in the baker case, which offered little guidance on how to balance gay rights and religious freedom.

“The Washington State Supreme Court now has the job of determining whether the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affects this case. I am confident they will come to the same conclusion they did in their previous, unanimous ruling upholding the civil rights of same-sex couples in our state,” Robert Ferguson, Washington’s attorney general, said Monday.

Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington, refused to provide flowers in 2013 for the wedding of two longtime customers, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, explaining that as a Southern Baptist, it would violate her religious beliefs and her “relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Like Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker, she said her floral arrangements were works of art and that having to create them for a same-sex wedding would violate her freedom of expression. Her lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, called her “an artist with a conscience who cannot separate her artistic creativity from her soul.”

 

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