Home News State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist in 'Gay Marriage' Case

State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist in ‘Gay Marriage’ Case

February 17, 2017 at 6:55 am 63 News
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Curt Freed, left, and his 'husband' Robert Ingersoll smile after a hearing before Washington's Supreme Court, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s antidiscrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

A lower court had fined Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington, for denying service to a gay couple in 2013, and ordered her to pay a $1,000 fine.

Stutzman argued that she was exercising her First Amendment rights. But the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

“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’s lawyers immediately said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will,” Stutzman’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner, wrote in a statement issued after the ruling. “Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”

It’s one of several lawsuits around the country – including some involving bakers – about whether businesses can refuse to provide services over causes they disagree with, or whether they must serve everyone equally.

A Colorado case involving a baker who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Lambda Legal. In 2014, the court declined to hear an appeal of a case out of New Mexico that went against a photographer who denied a same-sex couple service.

Gov. Jay Inslee lauded Thursday’s ruling, saying it was “in favor of equality for all Washingtonians.”

“By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love,” Inslee said in a written statement.

Stutzman had previously sold the couple flowers and knew they were gay. However, Stutzman told them that she couldn’t provide flowers for their wedding because same-sex marriage was incompatible with her Christian beliefs.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the couple sued her, saying she broke state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws, and the lower court agreed. The state’s nine high court justices upheld that verdict.

The court rejected several arguments put forth by Stutzman, including the assertion that since other florists were willing to serve the couple, no harm occurred.

“As every other court to address the question has concluded, public accommodations laws do not simply guarantee access to goods or services. Instead, they serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace,” the court wrote. “Were we to carve out a patchwork of exceptions for ostensibly justified discrimination, that purpose would be fatally undermined.”

The case thrust the great-grandmother into the national spotlight and she testified before state lawmakers in Indiana and Kansas.

Michael Scott, a Seattle attorney who worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to represent Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed – the couple denied the flowers – had previously told justices he didn’t believe Stutzman’s floral creations constituted speech. By providing flowers for a same-sex marriage, he argued, “she’s not endorsing same-sex marriage. She’s selling what she sells.”

Ferguson had said the state’s argument rested on longstanding principle, and uprooting it would weaken antidiscrimination law.

After the arguments in the Supreme Court case last November, at a packed theater at Bellevue College, a large crowd of Stutzman’s supporters greeted her outside, chanting her name and waving signs that said “Justice For Barronelle.”

In a February 2015 ruling, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander Ekstrom found that Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers because of sexual orientation violated Washington’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws. The following month, Ekstrom ordered Stutzman to pay a $1,000 penalty to the state and $1 in costs and fees.

Stutzman entered the florist business 30 years ago, when her mother bought a flower shop.

At a press conference following the ruling, Ferguson said that under Washington law, a business is not required to provide a particular service, but if it does so for couples of the opposite sex, it must provide that service equally to same-sex couples. Ferguson noted that Stutzman is not currently selling wedding flowers, but if she were to resume that side of her business, she would not be allowed to sell to only heterosexual couples.

“The state Supreme Court has made that very clear,” he said.

AP writer Gene Johnson contributed from Seattle.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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State Supreme Court Rules Against Florist in ‘Gay Marriage’ Case, 2.3 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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63 Comments

  1. inluminatuo February 17, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Let’s get real. Freedom to worship as you please IS mentioned in the Constitution. Freedom to imagine you have sex organs not born with, or a right to mate with unnatural parts of the human body you were not born with, or inter species sex,,, is NOT mentioned in the Constitution. Does God have to send them enough floods and earthquakes to wipe the West Coast states clean of fools and corrupted courts? . OOOOOoppps! It has already begun and when 10 righteous men can no longer be found in California or Washington State the fault lines will break and they will all fall into the ocean. Poor George Washington is spinning in his grave that they put his name on such a state,,,,the state of confusion.
    The deal is this,,we get the government out of your sick bedrooms where you have freedom to infect yourselves and go insane, and you get your sick sex out of our Constitution, now enforced by sick pathologically sex driven, sex worshipping Appeals court Judges and Governors.

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    • johngalt February 17, 2017 at 9:23 am

      deport the court to North Africa and see how long they would last doing headers off a tall building.

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    • attila320 February 17, 2017 at 9:49 am

      I appears that Washington has joined Calif and OR as the most wacked liberal area of the country. There must be something in the water up there that cause most of the citizenry and all of the judicial system to lose their collective minds..or lets call a spade a spade. It is the judiciary writing law…and the populace is too stupid to put a stop to it.

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    • cyrus February 17, 2017 at 10:44 am

      There is another angle here that no one seems to see.

      It is one thing for anyone to walk into a bakery or flower shop and buy existing stock from the shelf. (Buy a cake, pie, box of doughnuts that are on the shelf. Except for hygiene or “no shirt no service” reasons, I must sell you what I have and can’t refuse service.

      What you can’t do is make me create something that doesn’t exist – like “bake me a cake for next Saturday.” All I have to say is “I don’t feel like it.” Otherwise I become your indentured servant – you are forcing me (an artist) to create a work that doesn’t exist.

      Same as if I’m a house painter. I don’t have to accept an order from you to paint your house – no matter my reasons. So why do I have to bake you a cake when “I don’t feel like it”?

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    • IMHO February 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      There are a lot of righteous, AND conservative people in CA. It just so happens that all of the high places in government are occupied by wicked liberals. PS- if God felt the same way as you, not only would CA already be gone but the rest of the US as well.

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    • Jota_ February 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      “Otherwise I become your indentured servant – you are forcing me (an artist) to create a work that doesn’t exist”

      I think that is an excellent argument but the real question is why do you need to make it?

      Because they rejected your argument you are free to hold views, from an established religion, of how things should be, which are not sanctioned by the state.

      This is the state imposing their religious views

      The state says, people are free to marry whom every they want but you are not free to not see it. You must see it their way, what ever they make up or imagine.

      Never mind the fact if a person believes marriage is only between one man and one woman they don’t have to see it your way. How fair is that? Talk about discrimination, but they gloss right over that. So only some discrimination is bad. The kind which does not fit with the state running everyone’s life

      Nothing new here, every dictator, tyrant, want-a-be thug, self centered spoiled brat has always made themselves the law and set themselves above it.

      It is called totalitarianism the enemy of freedom everywhere

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    • John Higgins February 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      What we have here is making something right by doing something wrong. More reverse discrimination,another block on freedom and another violation of the constitution.
      Another case of the means serving and justifying the end even if the end contradicts age old social values. Plus this is not only a violation of individual freedom and religious freedom to those involved but, brings frustration and religious guilt to more than half or more of the worlds population. It’s like the murdering of our unborn children. America is turning into an evil empire,while it deceives itself that it is only being tolerant.

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    • 440volt February 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Originally posted by inluminatuo:

      “Freedom to imagine you have sex organs not born with, or a right to mate with unnatural parts of the human body you were not born with, or inter species sex,,, is NOT mentioned in the Constitution”

      Isn’t that a plank in the Democrat’s platform?

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    • golfnut6 February 18, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Remember the entertainers who refused to perform in President Trump’s inauguration? How is that different from florests and bakers?

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      [I appears that Washington has joined Calif and OR as the most wacked liberal area of the country.]

      Attila, i have long felt that Washington (especially Seattle) was always as bad as the liberal cesspools of commiefornia..

      [Remember the entertainers who refused to perform in President Trump’s inauguration? How is that different from florests and bakers?]

      Good point. Yet again we see the Hypocrisy of the left, in that its OK for them to do something, but wrong if we do it..

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  2. backpacker February 17, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Where Governor is the equality for the florist and her rights as a Christian? Liberal Hypocrites!

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    • DrGadget February 17, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      We need the new Supreme Court to overturn their stance on gay marriage. Then rule it illegal in all states, according to the Defense of Marriage Act.

      Then make all these gay activists pay restitution to all the bakeries and florists that they have been harassing.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Backpacker. You should know by now that in the liberal’s parlance, that ONLY THEY deserve tolerance, justice and freedom of anything/ IF YOU are christian, conservative (or just white) you don’t deserve a damn thing…

      After all, have you EVER known a single liberal judge to say that all these liberal colleges are breaking the law when they DENY freedom of speech rights to someone who is conservative and who got INVITED to the campus to speek, but gets bullied, badgered, assaulted etc OFF of campus?

      Me neither..

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  3. 4liberty February 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Way past time for these judges to face charges of sedition as their actions are creating a populace of rabble which is overthrowing our Constitution and nation.

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    • davids February 17, 2017 at 10:14 am

      This couple must use a lot of flour to fine the wet parts~~ So sad!!

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      If nothing else those judges need to be immediately disbarred and removed from the bench!

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  4. Robert J Knight February 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

    The West coast has turned in to a viper pit of moral decay. GOD will show no mercy like Sodom and Gomorra except the good book says it will be worse.

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  5. woftam February 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

    HUM, Guess this puts and end to “NO SHIRT,NO SHOES,NO SERVICE.”

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Ahh but that’s covered under “health concerns”..

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  6. BigBoa February 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

    “Flowers don’t represent free speech”??

    What in the world does that have to do with anything? Their new route to force people into going along with their agenda, clearly.

    Free exercise of one’s religion has nothing to do with free speech. So next, they’ll claim a sex act isn’t “free speech” so you have to agree to have sex with same sex partners? God help this country.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      But yet burning the US flag IS considered protected free expression… Gawd you can’t make UP this insanity!!

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  7. tws500 February 17, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Truly, an abomination..!!

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  8. bragar February 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Quite a shot of these two happy benders. Take down a business to suite one’s sexual beliefs. Good idea. Force people of faith to approve of one’s deviant behavior in the bedroom.

    Forcing this behavior on a population unwilling to accept it will never gain its approval by those of us who don’t support you no matter how many silly snapshots you take showing off your gayness!

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  9. darl444 February 17, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Thank goodness same sex couples can’t reproduce naturally, so when will they sue Nature for discrimination?

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  10. gimmesometruth February 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Social acceptance of homosexuality and other deviancies, whether forced or not, is one of the many ‘Protocols’ listed in order to take down Western Society. These two could have easily found a gay florist to do their bidding but CHOSE to find someone who would refuse service, thus initiating this legal battle. The same strategy is being employed against anyone who refuses to accommodate transgenders.

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  11. Frank W Brown February 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Queers are an evolutionary DEAD END, it would be such a pleasure if they QUIT rubbing their sex in everyones face and kept their QUEERNESS behind bedroom doors like us NORMAL people do with our sex lives! there are ZERO special rights for them in the Constitution or ANYWHERE ELSE!

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      With the # of queers i have seen raising kid(s), its not as ‘dead ended’ as we would like it to be…

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  12. Timothy Toroian February 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

    How about a sign in the store that says “Management Reserves the Right to Not Serve Any One It Doesn’t Like”? Sort of like the sign I once saw that read, “Management Reserves The Right To Maim All Undesirables”.

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  13. Jota_ February 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Republicans are responsible for creating this beast

    They gave to government the power to force individuals to buy and sell to who the government wills

    What is the difference between Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

    NOTHING

    In one it is GOVERNMENT telling the people who they can sell to, in the other it is GOVERNMENT telling the people who they can sell to

    Now you have to bake a cake for a queer marriage because we have created a totalitarian government who can force us to its will, and anyone who thinks it will NEVER sodomize us just does not understand the power it has been given.

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  14. Gary February 17, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Amendment I
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

    Amendment XIV
    Section 1.
    “…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…”

    Except if one lives in a liberal state and is a Christian who believes and follows the teaching of the Holy Bible… then all bets are off.
    Not sure where it says that Christians shall forfeit their inalienable rights as annunciated in the US Constitution.

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    • Jota_ February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

      “Except if one lives in a liberal state”

      More specifically, if an individual lives in a state where the majority of its inhabitants believe the state has all the rights and the people exist to serve it

      The problem is not, nor has it ever been, individuals who did not want to buy or sell from other particular individuals but the state telling us who we can buy and sell from

      It gives the state the right to decide. So in that respect the people are all equal to each other but not before the law because the state has a right no one else has

      Civil Rights Act of 1964 has always violated the Fourteenth Amendment

      It needs to be abolished

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      You forgot “also if you happen to live in a conservative state such as Texas, but are getting your case heard in a LIBERAL cesspool like Austin, by a liberal social justice activist UN-judge..”

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  15. cgraving February 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

    This is so sick it makes my head spin. How did we get to the place where protecting our religious beliefs will destroy our lives?
    I listened to this poor lady on the radio yesterday. These greedy ingrates are forcing her to cover attorney fees, and are wanting her retirement and bank accounts. Some idiot kills his girlfriend and in some cases rarely spends a year in prison. Obama just broke records with the prisoners he’s freed, and they are destroying a 73 year old woman who could not be a part of a ceremony that was not only against her beliefs, but at the time against the law.
    The stalwarts at gofundme will not allow people to set up a site for her. Her attorney said a site has been started, letfreedombloom.com , please pass this on to as many conservative sites as possible. We need to help this lady however much we can.

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    • Jota_ February 17, 2017 at 11:20 am

      “How did we get to the place where protecting our religious beliefs will destroy our lives?”

      The first time we said who I believe you need to sell to is more important than who you believe you need to sell to

      One cannot pervert the law to favor their view and then expect it to be just, regardless of how morally strong they believe their view to be

      One of the great ironies of the Civil War was the North holding the view it was wrong that some men should be at the will of another and when the South disagreed the North forced them to their will

      And from that day until this one the Republican party has always used the government to get people to see things their way

      Then the perverts said if you can’t lick them use the system against them

      Libertarians have been saying for a long time you would rue the day you thought you know best how everyone SHOULD live, now we are having to bake a cake for the absurd concept of queer marriage which violates reason which is the only means by which we can know what is the law.

      And since that line has been crossed the flood gates of hell are now open because without the law there can only be violence, the law of the jungle, kill or be killed.

      And if the perverts had a brain in their head they would back away from what they are unleashing.

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    • IMHO February 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      They are nothing more than slimy, filthy bottom feeders, God will squish in his own due time, do not worry; He will also take care of the old lady, and all others who stand up for Him.

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    • papatriot February 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      To jota,
      It is the Democrat party that is the party of Big Government, not the Republicans. It is the Democrats who have robbed us of our First Amendment religious rights and forced the LGBT agenda on the people beginning in kindergarten.

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    • Jota_ February 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      “It is the Democrat party that is the party of Big Government, not the Republicans”

      Big is a relative term.

      It is true Democrats want it bigger than the Republicans, but Republicans still want the government big enough to do things their way

      For the most part Republicans want the government to stay out of their economic lives but want to impose it on to others social lives, drug laws, sexual behavior laws

      Democrats are just the opposite want to steal everyone’s money because they are more entitled to it than the person who made it, but want minimal government for social, or use to, now they want to use the government to force you to give them your money and tell you to celebrate their life style

      It all comes down to consent and where we think we need to use force to get others to agree with us

      The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is identical to Jim Crow laws, both have the government telling you who you can sell to. One was made by Democrats the other by Republicans. Both use the government to force others to their will it is just why they do it that is different

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  16. Overshadower February 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Individual businesses have a right to refuse service to anyone who behaves in a manner in which they disagree. Discrimination against behavior is an acceptable principle in American Law.

    This must be overturned.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      It was, until liberals got ahold of the judicial branch and put hundreds of activist UN-judges through out the country..

      (A judge is someone who makes RULINGS on the word of law, not on their social or political beliefs, ergo to me any activist person on the bench who makes these sorts of rulings is not WORTHY of being called a judge AND certainly not worthy of the title “Your honor”…)

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  17. krinkov545 February 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Fifth Sodomites wont be smiling when they die of AIDS and plunge into Hell.

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  18. Rowwdy Colt February 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    WA is a lost cause. These 2 fat puss balls should be ashamed of themselves as well as the ACLU.

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  19. columba February 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    The court simply ignores the fact that the florist HAD sold flowers to the couple, knowing they were gay. She had NOT refused to sell them anything because of their “sexual orientation.” What she had declined to do was participate in an EVENT that violated her beliefs. The analogy about Muslim and atheist weddings is faulty. If the Muslim and atheist weddings were between a man and woman, they wouldn’t be violating her religious beliefs. This is the same kind of verbal sleight-of-hand that the liberals use when they call people anti-immigrant for opposing ILLEGAL entry into our country.

    I hope Ms. Stutzman stands fast. We’re seeing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. The first martyrs suffered “red martyrdom” for refusing to put a pinch of incense on the flame in front of the statue of the Emperor. The new martyrs are suffering “white martyrdom” for refusing to do the same for the idols of the Liberal State.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      And people wonder why i will NEVER EVER live or even visit Washington..

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  20. montie364 February 17, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Simply put the Washington law is ILLEGAL as it calls for the abrogation of the first amendment. As the constitution calls ALL laws in conflict with the constitution NO LAW AT ALL. The Washington state supreme court is as degraded, and broken as the ninth circus court.

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  21. Ready_to_Fight_Vet February 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Time to start hanging judges!

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  22. js6466 February 18, 2017 at 12:39 am

    This is not equality for all, as the judge tried to push, it’s determination by a government official. If it was equality the florist would have had a choice on who they wanted to do business with equal with the couplesame choice who filed the suit

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    • 440volt February 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Easy fix, sales by appointment only on Facebook, include picture. Then it’s simply let them know that all appointments are taken, at the current time. But check back often, and be sure to tell all your friends!

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  23. columba February 18, 2017 at 3:30 am

    I’m going to add that I’ve been following this case for a while, through Alliance Defending Freedom updates. Here are some background facts about the case: Ms. Stutzman had been selling flowers to the men for years, and had developed what she thought of as a friendship with them, in fact a loving relationship with them. She always greeted them warmly and often exchanged hugs with them; in fact, she even hugged them and told them she loved them right after they filed the suit against her.

    And now she’s being called a “hater,” while these men who accepted her love for so long have rejected her love and stabbed her in the back, wrecking her life — but they’re somehow the “victims” in all of this.

    That’s what our society has come to. Pray hard. And, like Barronelle Stutzman, continue to love even while being hated and being called a hater.

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    • Jota_ February 18, 2017 at 9:30 am

      “That’s what our society has come to.”

      If you want more of a behavior reward it
      If you want less of a behavior ignore it or punish it

      Why are we rewarding the behavior?

      What benefit are we getting from it?

      Have been told children misbehave to find where the boundaries are because it makes them feel secure to know there are boundaries. So will keep pushing until they do, it is like an addiction, have a need, can’t get it met, so keep acting out

      Liberals are really looking for a good spanking, so they seek out the compassionate Christians to give it to them because they know everyone else would just shoot them, and why they don’t pull this cr*p on Muslims

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Exactly Jota. I AM SICK of ‘showing love”, turning the other cheek etc. SICK TO DEATH of it. The more we do this, the more imo it emboldens them to keep PUSHING US…

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    • columba February 19, 2017 at 3:36 am

      When I speak of “love,” I’m talking about real love as described in the Bible, not the warm fuzzy feeling that it’s taken to mean these days. Love is an act of the will, not an emotion. It’s willing the good of the other — and “good” means the moral and spiritual well-being as well as the physical well-being. In fact, even the physical well-being can involve discipline, as when we punish a child who’s done wrong or refuse a drink to an alcoholic. It can also mean refusing to go along with a pretense — say, of a man who’s pretending to be a woman — or with what we believe to be an immoral action. By refusing, we give witness to the fact that there ARE moral standards, and that it IS courageous to abide by them. I guess we have to say “tough love” to convey what we mean these days.

      I recently read somewhere the Jesus didn’t command us to like our neighbor, but he did command us to love our neighbor.

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  24. brucexlx February 18, 2017 at 10:22 am

    What happened to signs business used to post saying ‘ We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone ‘
    The shop I would think especially in America has the basic right to do so. I wonder because she told them because they were sodomites ?
    If she just politely declined, ?…..

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    • 440volt February 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Those signs have been covered up with “gender neutral restroom” signs.

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  25. cgraving February 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

    letfreedombloom.com

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