Richland florist that refused to serve to gay couples agrees to settlement, set to retire

Nov 18, 2021, 1:28 PM | Updated: 1:36 pm
Richland flower shop...
Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington. (Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

In 2013, Barronelle Stutzman refused to sell flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, kicking off nearly a decade of legal battles. Now, that saga appears to have finally wound to a close, with Stutzman agreeing to pay out a $5,000 settlement while dropping her latest bid to appeal her case.

Supreme Court declines case of WA florist who refused to sell to same-sex wedding

In 2017, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against the Richland florist, citing state law mandating that businesses offering services to opposite-sex couples must provide the same service to same-sex couples. Stutzman then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider her case in 2019, in light of a Colorado bakery that actually won its own case in 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled that it had the right to refuse service to a gay couple.

The U.S. Supreme Court kicked it back to the Washington state high court, which stood by its 2017 ruling against the flower shop. Stutzman petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court again, but was denied by a 6-3 margin, needing four justices to agree to take the case in order to move forward.

Richland florist who wouldn’t serve gay wedding looks to head back to Supreme Court

Now in her late 70s and set to retire, Stutzman agreed this week to pay a $5,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought against her by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the couple. As part of that, she has also withdrawn what would have been her third petition to have her case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I am willing to turn the legal struggle for freedom over to others,” she said in a letter explaining her decision. “At age 77, it’s time to retire.”

Moving forward, Stutzman says Arlene’s Flowers will be run by her “beloved employees.”

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Richland florist that refused to serve to gay couples agrees to settlement, set to retire