Florist Barronelle Stutzman (screen capture)
The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld its 2017 ruling which found florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple in 2013.
Stutzman’s legal team had appealed the original ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but last June the high court punted.
Instead of reviewing the case, SCOTUS vacated the Washington state Supreme Court ruling and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the case to ensure they did not rule with any religious bias.
On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court upheld its original ruling in a unanimous decision,
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement which read, “Washington state law protects same-sex couples from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the same way it protects Washingtonians from discrimination based on their religion, veteran or military status, disability, race and other protected classes.”
The case began when Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry in 2013 after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before.
They approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs.
Washington state’s public accommodation laws specifically prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.
Although she cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, it’s worth noting that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman. GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.
However, Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.
Following Wednesday’s ruling, Stutzman’s attorneys (from the virulently anti-LGBTQ law firm Alliance Defending Freedom) say they plan to take their appeal (again) to the U.S. Supreme Court.