Washington's highest court on Thursday
ruled that a Richland flower shop discriminated against a gay couple
when it refused to provide flowers for their wedding.
In February 2013, Barronelle Stutzman,
the owner of Arlene's Flowers & Gifts in Richland, refused to
serve Robert Ingersoll when he attempted to purchase flowers for his
upcoming marriage to now-husband Curt Freed. Stutzman said that
providing the service would be a violation of her faith.
In 2015, Stutzman was found guilt of
violating the state's anti-discrimination and consumer protection
laws and ordered to pay a $1,000 file, plus $1 for court costs and
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) represented Freed and Ingersoll in the case.
“We’re thrilled that the Washington
Supreme Court has ruled in our favor. The court affirmed that we are
on the right side of law and the right side of history,” said Freed
and Ingersoll in a statement released by the ACLU. “We felt it was
so important that we stand up against discrimination because we don’t
want what happened to us to happen to anyone else. We are so glad
that we stood up for our rights.”
“When people experience acts of
discrimination, they feel that they are not full and equal members of
our society, and we're delighted that the Washington Supreme Court
has recognized this,” said Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney with the
ACLU's LGBT Project.
More than $123,000 was raised in
support of Stutzman through a GoFundMe.com campaign after she was
fined in 2015.