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Richland florist broke anti-discrimination laws, court says

Arlene's Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman violated the law when she refused to sell flowers to a gay couple in 2013. (AP)

The Washington State Supreme Court says a Richland florist broke anti-discrimination laws when she refused to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding in 2013.

In a unanimous ruling, the state’s high court wrote that state law bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, and that Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman violated that law.

“It is a complete, unequivocal victory for equality in the state of Washington and sends a clear message around the country as well on the importance of equality,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Stutzman says she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

“I’m hoping our justices will follow the Constitution. It’s not just my freedom, it’s everybody’s freedom,” she said.

Stutzman said she was exercising her First Amendment rights, and that same sex marriage went against her religious beliefs.

She was cited and fined for refusing to do the flowers for the wedding.

Stutzman’s lawyers argued creative expression of a floral arrangement deserves the same protection as free speech. The state’s high court disagreed.

About the Author

Kipp Robertson

Kipp joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2015. He's worked as a reporter in the greater Seattle area since graduating from Western Washington University in 2010. Email Kipp at krobertson@mynorthwest.com

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