Washington Supreme Court Rules Against Richland Florist

Feb 16, 2017

The Washington State Supreme Court affirmed that an eastern Washington florist cannot refuse to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple.

The justices upheld a lower court’s ruling against Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, which denied service to a gay couple for their wedding in 2013.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought the case against the florist. He said the court made the statement that businesses must treat all customers equally.

“If they choose to sell wedding flowers, they cannot choose to sell wedding flowers only for heterosexual couples and deny that same service to gay couples. And the state supreme court has made that very clear,” Ferguson said. 

The owner of the flower shop, Baronelle Stutzman, is a devout Baptist and believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

"And for me to be a part of celebrating something that is totally against my faith, I just, it's not that I wouldn't, it's that I couldn't do that," Stutzman said. 

Her lawyers argued that her floral arrangements were an expression of her first amendment rights to free speech and free religious exercise.

The state supreme court rejected those claims, saying providing flowers for a same-sex marriage would not endorse the marriage.

Lawyers for Arlene’s Flowers say they will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2017 KUOW