In a hotly anticipated decision, the WashingtonSupreme Court ruled against a florist who was fined for not providing services for a gay couple’s wedding.
The court had previously heard the case, State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, ruling that Barronelle Stutzman and her store, Arlene’s Flowers, violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) for refusing to make floral arrangements for a gay couple in 2013. Stutzman claimed that she was only acting in accordance with her religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court asked the state high court to take another look at whether it violated her religious rights by not being neutral to her religion when making its decision.
That court said no.
“We now hold that the answer to the Supreme Court’s question is no; the adjudicatory bodies that considered this case did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist and her corporation violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination … by declining to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple,” the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling said, “and they did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution.”
The U.S. Supreme Court held off on reviewing the case so that the state court could take another look in light of the 2018 SCOTUS decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That case drew national attention, as it pitted the First Amendment against LGBT rights.
The high court declined to get involved in that battle, however, ruling in favor of the baker by stating that the Colorado commission was improperly hostile to his religious beliefs when they found him in violation of a state law. The U.S. Supreme Court asked the Washington Supreme Court to make sure they did not make the same mistake.
In the new decision, the Washington Supreme Court defended its initial ruling, stating that the state’s public accommodation law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and that Stutzman discriminated against Robert Ingersoll because he was marrying a man.
Continue reading here.
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Ronn Blitzer and Bill Mears and originally published at Fox News. Title changed by P&P.]
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