The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a woman who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding on “religious grounds”.
According to court documents, Baronelle Stutzman told Robert Ingersoll she would not be able to create floral arrangements for his wedding ceremony because of her “relationship with Jesus Christ”.
Ingersoll—who had been a loyal customer of Stutzman's for nine years— left the store "feeling very hurt and upset emotionally" that the flower shop had declined him service and the event took an “emotional toll” on him and his partner, Curt Freed.
As a result, the couple ended up having a smaller ceremony than they had originally planned for fear that a “larger wedding might require a security presence or attract protesters, such as the”
Stutzman maintained that marriage should be between a man and a woman and that she would have been endorsing same-sex marriage if she or her employees provided floral arrangements for the event.
The court ruled unanimously that Stutzman’s guilty of violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
‘We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case-refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to (Robert) Ingersoll and (Curt) Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding-constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the (Washington State Law Against Discrimination).’
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has praised the decision.
“Businesses who are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms,’ says HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
Stutzman has been fined $1000 but is planning to appeal and take the case to the US Supreme Court.