Washington State uphold ruling against florist who refused LGBTQ couple

(Image by succo from Pixabay)

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court upheld a ruling that a florist discriminated against an LGBTQ couple when she refused to sell them flowers for their wedding.

The Hill reported that the court issued the ruling on Thursday. The website said the state’s supreme court had issued that ruling in 2017, but was ordered to review the case for hostility to religious beliefs by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.

From The Hill:

The Washington court found that state courts “did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist and her corporation violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination … by declining to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple, and they did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative Christian group representing florist Barronelle Stutzman in the case, said Thursday that it will request the Supreme Court to take up the case once again.

“Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs,” John Bursch, the vice president of appellate advocacy at ADF, said in a statement.

Lambda Legal, which had filed a friend of the court brief, celebrated the decision.

“The Washington Supreme Court today again confirmed a simple principle: our precious freedoms of religion and speech do not give businesses a license to discriminate against LGBT people,” Jennifer C. Pizer, Director of Law and Policy for Lambda Legal. “As important, the Court also did a careful review and rejected the assertion that there was anti-religious bias in the state courts’ consideration of the lawsuit. The florist in this action – Arlene’s Flowers, Inc. v. Washington – had no plausible basis for claiming there was hostility to her religious beliefs among those deciding her case. Lawyers for Arlene’s Flowers’ owner, Baronelle Stutzman, had pressed a series of extreme arguments to justify Stutzman’s request for a license to discriminate against same-sex couples. The Washington Supreme Court today reaffirmed its thorough, forceful rejection of every one of these arguments.”



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