State supreme court hears case of florist who refused flowers for same-sex wedding
BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Washington State Supreme Court will hear the case of a Richland florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay couple on their wedding day. Oral arguments get underway Tuesday for Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman after a lower court ruled she violated the state’s anti- discrimination law.
“Marriage is a sacred, very sacred thing,” said Stutzman in a video posted by the Alliance Defending Freedom. “If you want flowers for your birthday or anniversary or whatever that’s fine, but I cannot do a same-sex marriage.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom contends that Stutzman is being punished for her religious beliefs and “working according to her faith.” The organization advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Back in 2013, Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll say they were told Arlene’s Flowers would not sell them flowers for their wedding. The story went viral after they posted what happened online.
The couple released a statement through the American Civil Liberties Union:
“We were very disappointed to be denied service by Arlene’s Flowers after doing business with them for so many years. Planning our wedding should have been a joyful time in our lives, but instead we were hurt and saddened by being rejected for who we are. We respect everyone’s beliefs, but businesses that are open to the public have an obligation to serve everyone. We brought this lawsuit because we don’t want other couples to go through the experience that we did. We appreciate the support we have received from people across the globe.”
A lower court ruled Stutzman must pay penalties and attorneys’ fees for declining to provide flowers for the wedding, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Oral arguments will get underway at Bellevue College Tuesday morning.