OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP/TheBlaze) — The state attorney general says the Washington Supreme Court should uphold a decision ordering a Richland florist to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.
The Tri-City Herald reports Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a 64-page brief Wednesday supporting the Benton County Superior Court decision.
“Defendants refused to serve Mr. Ingersoll when he sought flowers for his wedding to his partner, Mr. Freed. This was discrimination based on sexual orientation, pure and simple,” Ferguson wrote in the brief.
The decision found the refusal to provide flowers because of sexual orientation by Adele's Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman violated Washington's anti-discrimination and consumer-protection laws.
Stutzman has appealed, saying she believes the decision prevents her from practicing her Southern Baptist faith.
Ferguson says the incident was discrimination based on sexual orientation. He says free speech and free exercise rights do not prohibit states from outlawing discriminatory conduct in business.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide if it will hear the case or send it to another court in early 2016.
The conservative religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, has asked the attorney general to withdraw his suit and has launched a countersuit, which is pending in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington.
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