Barronelle Stutzman, the Richland,
Washington florist who faces two lawsuits over her refusal to supply
flowers for a gay wedding, has filed a lawsuit against the state.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)
filed the lawsuit Thursday in Benton County Superior Court on behalf
Stutzman's lawyers argue that the state
is violating her religious beliefs.
Last month, State Attorney Bob Ferguson
filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene's Flowers &
Gifts and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a separate
lawsuit on behalf of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, the gay couple
who were denied service.
Stutzman explained in March that
providing the service would be a violation of her faith.
Ingersoll “said he decided to get
married, and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, 'I am
sorry. I can't do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus
Christ,'” Stutzman told CBS affiliate KEPR.
“We hugged each other and he left,
and I assumed that was the end of the story,” she added.
Dale Schowengerdt, senior legal counsel
with the ADF, said Stutzman had a right to refuse service based on
her religious convictions.
“In America, the government is
supposed to protect freedom, not use its intolerance for certain
viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith
said. “Family business owners are constitutionally guaranteed
the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs.”
The state's lawsuit seeks fines against
the business, while the ACLU suit seeks damages on behalf of the
plaintiffs, Ingersoll and Freed.