After the Supreme Court of Washington State ruled 9-0 that a Christian florist violated anti-discrimination law when she refused to provide flower arrangements for a gay wedding, the embattled owner of Arlene’s Flowers declared that she wasn’t giving up.
Barronelle Stutzman told KIRO-TV that she’ll take her case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It was terrifying when you think that the government is coming in and telling you what to think and what to do and what to say,” she told the station by phone after Thursday’s ruling, which included a $1,000 fine.
Stutzman, a great-grandmother, argued that she was exercising her First Amendment rights. But the state’s high court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
“As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism,” the opinion said.
Stutzman’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner, had a different take on the issue.
“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will,” she wrote in a statement following the ruling. “Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
At a press conference following the ruling, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that under state law, a business is not required to provide a particular service, but if it does so for couples of the opposite sex, it must provide that service equally to same-sex couples. Ferguson noted that Stutzman is not currently selling wedding flowers, but if she were to resume that side of her business, she would not be allowed to sell only to heterosexual couples.
Here’s more of Stutzman’s story:
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
(H/T: Hot Air)