A Christian florist who owns a flower shop in Richland, Washington has gone to court over being forced to provide services for a gay couple’s wedding.
The Daily Signal reports that 72-year-old Barronelle Stutzman who owns Arlene’s Flowers, a small local business, could face up to $2,000 in fines for violating Washington’s anti-discrimination law.
The legal fees Stutzman is incurring are estimated to be seven figures, however.
Stutzman objected to providing floral arrangements for the gay wedding ceremony of customer Rob Ingersoll.
Stutzman had provided services to Ingersoll in the past, but she felt it went against her religious beliefs to provide floral arrangements for his wedding ceremony.
Stutzman’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, argued, “A Muslim graphics designer shouldn’t be compelled to create designs promoting a Jewish Friends of Israel group. A gay public relations manager shouldn’t be forced to promote the Westboro Baptist Church. And a Christian floral designer shouldn’t be forced to create custom wedding designs for a wedding that is not between one man and one woman.”
Bob Ferguson, who is suing Stutzman on behalf of the state, argued that a business open to the public has an obligation to serve everyone.
“A business can absolutely have a policy as long as they apply that policy equally and do not discriminate or refuse service or say we do not serve your kind when we come into your business,” he said.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 17, 2016