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Washington State Supreme Court Says Florist Can't Deny Same-Sex Couple Flowers

The court ruled 9-0 that the florist, Barronelle Stutzman, violated anti-discrimination laws.

by VICE Staff
Feb 16 2017, 8:04pm

Photo via Flickr user Seattle.gov

On Thursday, Washington's Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Barronelle Stutzman, a local florist, couldn't deny service to a gay couple because of her religious beliefs under the state's anti-discrimination law, CBS News reports.

Although Stutzman had sold flowers to the couple before, she refused to sell flowers for their wedding back in 2013, claiming that it would go against her Christian beliefs. Lower courts ruled against her and Stutzman was fined, but she and her lawyer took the case to the Washington Supreme Court. The court sided with the lower courts in a 9-0 landslide, saying that refusing to sell flowers to a gay couple is discrimination and not protected under free speech laws.

The court sided with the couple's lawyer, Michael Scott, who argued that providing flowers for a same-sex marriage isn't the same thing as an endorsement of the practice: "She's selling what she sells."

"As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism," the opinion said.

Stutzman now plans to take her case in front of the US Supreme Court.

"It's wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will," Stuzman's attorney wrote in a statement. "Freedom of speech and religion aren't subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees."

Tagged:
LGBTQ
free speech
same-sex marriage
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gay marriage
Washington supreme court
anti-discrimination law​