The Washington Supreme Court on
Thursday ruled that state courts did not act with animosity toward
religion in ruling against a florist who refused to serve a gay
Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of
Arlene's Flowers & Gifts in Richland, in 2013 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.
Washington's highest court in 2017
unanimously ruled that in refusing the couple Stutzman had violated
the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD).
The U.S. Supreme Court asked
Washington's highest court to consider whether state courts had
violated Stutzman's religious rights by not being neutral to her
In a unanimous decision, the high court
answered no, and reaffirmed its 2017 ruling.
“We now hold that the answer to the
Supreme Court's question is no; the adjudicatory bodies that
considered this case 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," the ruling states, "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
Stutzman is represented by the
Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The group said in a
statement that it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Barronelle serves all customers; she
simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that
violate her deeply held belief,” ADF's John Bursch said.