Christian florist settles after refusing service over same-sex marriage
A settlement was reached Thursday in the nearly ten-year-old case of a Christian flower shop owner in Washington state who refused to provide flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding. despite state anti-discrimination laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court left state court rulings against Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, intact in July. Shortly thereafter, Stutzman requested a rehearing.
Stutzman withdrew his petition on Thursday and agreed to pay a $ 5,000 settlement to the couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed.
âWe took on this case because we were concerned that the harm would be done to LGBTQ people. We are pleased that the decisions of the Washington Supreme Court remain in effect to ensure that same-sex couples are protected from discrimination and must be served by businesses like everyone else, “the couple said in a statement.” It was painful to be turned away and we are grateful that this long journey for us is finally over. “
The case dates back to 2013, when Stutzman refused to provide flowers for the couple’s wedding. She said it would violate her Southern Baptist beliefs and her “relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Using an argument similar to that of Colorado baker Jack Phillips in the hot 2018 Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Stutzman argued that his flower arrangements are works of art and that he should create them for same-sex marriages. would violate his freedom of expression.
A lower court ruled in 2015 that Stutzman broke a Washington law prohibiting companies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the couple in 2017 and then again in 2019, concluding that selling flowers for a wedding “does not inherently express a message about this wedding”.
Ingersoll and Freed will donate the $ 5,000 to a local chapter of PFLAG, an LGBTQ rights group, and they also plan to match the donation, the statement said on Thursday.
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