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Judge Rules Homophobic Washington Florist Does Not Have God-Given Right To Discriminate

florist

The homophobic Washington florist who refused to provide service for a same-sex couple due to her "relationship with Jesus Christ" will have to pay more than $2,000 in fines and legal fees for violating the state's anti-discrimination law.

Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled against Baronelle Stutzman in two cases brought against her by the ACLU and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both on behalf of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed.

Ingersoll and Freed were shopping for floral arrangements for their wedding in 2013 when they were told by Stutzman, who owns Arlene's Flowers in Richland, that she wouldn't work with them because they were gay.

Stutzman fought both cases in court, claiming the Constitution protected her right to religious freedom, which in turn granted her the right to lawfully discriminate against customers based on her religious beliefs.

“Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” Ekstrom wrote. “In trade and commerce, and more particularly when seeking to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, the courts have confirmed the power of the legislative branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief.”

"The law is clear: If you choose to provide a service to couples of the opposite sex, you must provide the same service to same-sex couples," Ferguson added.

Kristen Waggoner, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, told the LA Times "The ruling basically said that if you dare to not celebrate same-sex marriage because it violates your religious convictions, that the government has a right to bring about your personal and professional ruin."

"Her [Stutzman's] home, her business … her life savings and retirement, these are all in jeopardy … all because of her deeply held religious views."

Stutzman could have avoided the judgements against her if she cooperated with the AG Ferguson in the first place, but chose to try her chances fighting Washington state law in court.