WA Florist Who Denied Service to Gay Couple Could Have Case Heard by SCOTUS
The Supreme Court could soon decide to take up a case involving a Washington State florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding.
The case would follow Monday's decision in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, and could address the intersection of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights.
Florist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, was sued by state Attorney General Robert Ferguson (D) after a friendly encounter with the man asking for the flower services.
"I gently put my hands on him and said I couldn't do his wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ," she told Shannon Bream on Tuesday.
"He was very nice, very gracious, and he said, 'I understand.' Then his partner put something on Facebook that evening, and it went viral, the attorney general picked it up from there and sued us both corporately and personally," Stutzman said.
Stutzman is appealing to the Supreme Court after Washington's high court ruled against her, finding she violated the state law against discrimination.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Kristen Waggoner said the Supreme Court will pay attention to the man and Stutzman's relationship when deciding whether or not to hear the case.
She added that Ferguson and lower courts have also expressed hostility toward Stutzman in the way they have "disparaged" her religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of Jack Phillips in a 7-2 decision, after a same-sex couple filed a lawsuit against him in 2012.
Phillips was sanctioned by the state's civil rights commission after a formal complaint from the couple.
Waggoner said that she and Stutzman are "accommodating freedom for all Americans" in response to a ThinkProgress story that labeled ADF as "an anti-LGBTQ hate group" and said that Stutzman discriminated against the couple.
"What ADF is counting on is that viewers will be more accommodating of discrimination against LGBTQ people than they are other groups," Zack Ford wrote.
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