Judge rules Richland florist was wrong to refuse service to gay couple

Feb 18, 2015, 4:26 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2015, 1:03 pm
A judge has ruled a Richland florist who refused service to a same-sex couple in 2013 violated Wash...
A judge has ruled a Richland florist who refused service to a same-sex couple in 2013 violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act. (AP)
(AP)

A Benton County Superior Court judge has ruled a Richland florist who refused service to a same-sex couple in 2013 violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

The state said Arlene’s Flowers, owned by Barronelle Stutzman, refused to provide flowers and services to Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed.

Stutzman’s lawyers said she declined not because of the couple’s sexual orientation, but because of her religious views on marriage. They said she has a right to free speech and exercise of religion.

“The law is clear. If you choose to provide a service to couples of the opposite sex, you must provide the same service to same-sex couples,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a news release. “Washingtonians have enacted laws recognizing equality for same-sex couples, and I will continue to vigorously uphold these laws. I appreciate the judge’s decision and am very proud of my team’s hard work to stop this unlawful discrimination.”

You can read the full ruling here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Judge rules Richland florist was wrong to refuse service to gay couple