The Supreme Court on Friday announced
it would not hear a case involving a florist who refused to serve a
The high court's decision leaves in
place state rulings against the florist.
Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of
Arlene's Flowers & Gifts in Richland, Washington, 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.
Stutzman in 2015 was found guilty of
violating the state's anti-discrimination and consumer protection
laws and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, plus $1 for court costs and
fees. Washington's highest court twice upheld the ruling.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the high court's
“By denying certiorari in
Ingersoll & Freed v. Arlene’s Flowers, Inc., the Supreme
Court has once again said that critical nondiscrimination laws
protecting LGBTQ people are legally enforceable and has set a strong
and definitive precedent,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a
“Now, we need these protections for
the LGBTQ community, and all people, across the country, and in every
walk of life. That’s why we need to double-down on our efforts to
pass The Equality Act. The Court has validated nondiscrimination
protections, now Congress must follow suit,” he said, referring to
the LGBT protections bill stuck in the Senate.
Stutzman is represented by the Alliance
Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian conservative legal group opposed
to LGBT rights. ADF lawyers argued that providing flowers to a
same-sex wedding is an endorsement of such unions.
Plaintiffs in the case, Ingersoll and
Freed, are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Planning a wedding was a joyful time
for Rob and Curt until they were refused service at their local
flower shop,” Ria Tabacco Mar, an ACLU lawyer representing the
couple said in a statement. “No one should walk into a store and
have to wonder whether they will be turned away because of who they
are. Preventing that kind of humiliation and hurt is exactly why we
have nondiscrimination laws.”