Supreme Court declines case of WA florist who refused to sell to same-sex wedding
The Supreme Court has declined to take up the case of a florist in Richland, Wash., who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding.
The saga of the case against Arlene’s Flowers has been a lengthy one, to say the least.
In 2017, the state Supreme Court ruled against the Richland florist, who had refused to sell flowers for gay couple’s wedding. That case was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which — in light of a similar case against a Colorado baker — kicked it back to the state level earlier this year for what many thought would be a final ruling. That ruling was issued almost verbatim from the one in 2017 — the court stood by what it said the first time.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state courts did not act with animosity toward religion when they ruled florist Barronelle Stutzman broke the state’s anti-discrimination laws by refusing on religious grounds to provide flowers for the wedding of Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed, the Associated Press reports.
Washington state law says businesses offering services to opposite-sex couples must provide the same service to same-sex couples.
In 2019, Arlene’s Flowers again asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its case, in light of the Colorado bakery that actually won its case before that same court in 2018, when it ruled that it had the right to refuse service to a gay couple.
According to the Associated Press, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch said they would have agreed to hear the case and review the decision. Four justices are needed for the court to take a case.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the state’s lawsuit:
This is a historic victory for equality. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not only wrong — it’s unlawful. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court puts an end to our case, and sends a message to the entire country that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be treated equally under the law.