Skip to comments.(Washington State) AG sues florist who refused flowers to gay wedding
Posted on 04/10/2013 12:27:44 PM PDT by Mount Athos
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Tuesday filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlenes Flowers & Gifts, a Richland florist that refused to supply flowers to the same-sex marriage of a longtime customer.
Ferguson said he sent a March 28 letter to owner Barronelle Stutzman asking her to reconsider and supply flowers to customer Robert Ingersoll. Through an attorney, Stutzman declined to change her position.
As Attorney General, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington, said Ferguson. Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation. If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same sex couples the same product or service.
The lawsuit by Ferguson is bound to revive a warning raised by opponents of marriage equality in last falls Washington Voters Pamphlet statement against Referendum 74. Foes stated:
People who disagree with this new definition (of marriage) could find themselves facing sanctions, as has occurred elsewhere. Church groups have lost their tax exemptions. Small businesses were sued. Wedding professionals have been fined.
The supporters of same-sex marriage, in their rebuttal, stated: Lawsuits havent increased in states with same-sex marriage. Liberty and pursuit of happiness are core American values.
An employee at Arlenes Flowers and Gifts said late Tuesday that Stutzman was not present, adding: None of us will have any comment. Last month, Stutzman told KEPR-TV in the Tri-Cities:
He (Ingersoll) said he decided to get married and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, I am sorry. I cant do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.
Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, were decade-long customers of Arlenes Flowers & Gifts. They went online with the refusal and the story went viral. Stutzman refused to change her position, saying: Its a personal conviction. Its not a matter of being right or wrong. Its my belief.
The AGs office has filed a complaint in Benton County Superior Court asking for a permanent injunction requiring Arlenes Flowers & Gifts to comply with provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. It is asking that a $2,000 fine be imposed for every violation.
But Stutzmans attorneys warned the AG that any legal action Ferguson takes would result in an immediate challenge in federal court, and indicated that a number of national non-profit organizations . . . are ready for a fight.
Benton County rejected Referendum 74 by a 50,000-29,000 vote margin in the November election. Only one place in Eastern Washington, Whitman County, voted in favor of marriage equality. The measure passed statewide thanks to heavy support in populous King County.
Once again, I feel that a private business owner (florist, baker, B & B owner etc) has the right to refuse service to anyone based on their moral/religious viewpoints.
These TB sufferers are really starting to make me angry and you don't want to see me angry.
what, not enough tulips for them to tiptoe thru?!
I would have sent ‘em, but I would have had my dogs pee on ‘em first...
Personally, I’d have just charged them a premium and done the gig, but it’s absurd and evil that the state is suing them. We either own our businesses (and therefore, our business decisions) or we don’t. Apparently, in Washington state, we don’t.
Counter sue. The business has the right to refuse service to anyone.
Is gay marriage legal in WA? If not, then this should be an easy case to win, and counter sue. Get a settlement, open more stores, with a motto something like “We will not service illegal services” don’t use the word “gay” “homosexual” but let it be implied.
Watch business skyrocket.
So another victim of left wing politics is forced onto the public dole. Nice going.
Fire State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. There are plenty of laws that he doesn’t enforce, and he’s made it clear what his priorities are.
God bless you Arlene Stutzman. Standing your ground as a believer is a sign to opposers of the Gospel that they will be destroyed, and that the believer will be saved.
Same sex marriage is legal in Washington.
Everyone get ready for many more lawsuits such as this one to any business that doesn’t go the gay way. Church’s will be sued by the feds too. It is all part of the destruction of this country agenda.
How about those moose slime cab drivers who wouldn’t take drunks, or dogs (even seeing eye-type) as passengers??
Based on their “religion”.
“Personally, Id have just charged them a premium and done the gig”
Exactly. My friends do the same thing. especially when these ass clowns customers drive in a Prius with Odumbo stickers on them and my buds simply jack the price more than 75%.
“You didn’t build that”. Why would you think you own it? How long until churches are sued for refusing to marry homosexuals?
“... we either own our businesses or we don’t”
I guess we do when it comes to taking the risks and working the hours but not when choosing what opportunities to accept or decline. What bothers me if the demanding of acceptance by gays/lesbians. It isn’t going to happen for many Americans. They can get all dressed up, send out their invitations etc.. but at the end of the day, many Americans won’t see their “union” as equal.
Refuse service to someone for your own reasons, then get sued.
America has been screwed for a long, long time.
As Attorney General, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington, said Ferguson. Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.
So based on this it would unlawful for the florist to not allow a pedophile to send a dozen red roses to a 10 year old.
If this is allowed, why couldn’t the AG sue a church that refused to allow a same-sex marriage?
I’m guessing the florist doesn’t own any guns, or we would already be reading that they had been confiscated.
It is. It friggin is.
I was embarrassed to walk the streets the day after it passed.
When the feds enforce laws about blocking voting sites regardless of which side the blockers are on.
It’s the “right” of the customer to go to a competitor for a better deal. The fact that they are incensed over one out of presumably many florists tells me that this was a set-up from the beginning.
Depends on SCOTUS. Assuming they rule poorly I'd say as early as next year.
Winning civil rights lawsuits against the religious had ALWAYS been the goal of the homosexualists. They are bound and determined to use the law to change church doctrine. "Gay marriage" is just a means to an end.
If you think businesses in America have the right to refuse service to anyone, you are living in the 50s!
The Owner should have stated we have no knowledge of what a gay marraige entails or what flowers would be appropiate for this type of wedding but We can give you a few refrences of professionals that are in tune with type of wedding so the best experience can be nurtured from their union!
It is why government is evil.....it is always force......that we have a unleashed “justice” system is unconstitutional on so many levels.
We are run by mafia/cartels now...and they force their ideology on everyone-—it is Satanic Ethics-—and God is going into the toilet when our Rights come from God-—and they erase God-—we have no Rights whatsoever.
Like I say-—Rights come from God in this country-—not the State. The State is supposed to support NATURAL RIGHTS FROM GOD-—not Satanic rights to sodomize others which is dehumanizing and a Vice-—Justice is a virtue-—Law CAN NEVER promote VICE in a Justice System.
It is why Mark Levine states we are Post-Constitutional now. We have NO “Justice” system anymore. Our courts are totally corrupt.....and Cicero stated when their is no Rule of Law (Higher Laws than arbitrary man-made up cr*p) we will have chaos and collapse.
The state will not win this. the business is a private enterprise, based on religious viewpoints you can deny doing business irregradless of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is not a disability. There is a limit to the civil liberties clause. Sexual orientation is a choice not a right. So if a business is selling flowers and chocolate, based on sexual orientation a woman or man wants to buy flowers for a minor student (construed as pedophile), a pet (bestality), a goat, horse, a cow, a sheep (bestality). The management refuses to sell based on this sexual orientation, thus it will be shoot down.
Actually, Arlene’s has done business with this particular customer and other homosexuals for a long time and has employed homo workers. But she drew the line at a wedding ceremony. This customer wasn’t trying to get a reaction out of her — he went to the business because it was his florist.
I say this because many of the stereotypes of how this situation came about are not true. In fact, the customer didn’t make that huge of a deal of the refusal although he did write about it on his Facebook page. Others took the ball and made it into a test case.
and under the US Constitution it is unlawful to infringe upon someones religion and try to force them through the coercive power of government to condone sinful behavior.
It wasn't. See #30.
Such is the price of abdicating in favor of a conquering coalition. "Woe to the conquered!"
Two words to counsel..
>> How long until churches are sued for refusing to marry homosexuals?
Just as soon a a church refuses to marry them in a state where it is legal. You know that they are eager to get that lawsuit underway. Forcing churches to marry sodomites is very high on their list of things to do.
This is the endgame of the movement. To undermine and eventually destroy religious institutions in our country. Government>God. The left is a firm believer in the former, but not the later. This is why the marriage battle must be fought. Get government out of marriage. For government, it is nothing more than a legal contract, and needs be called something else. Leave marriage to the church.
I thought that the First Amendment settled all this, a couple hundred years ago.
Sex perverts/offenders are to be monitored, not married.
Ahhh! Thanks for the info. I understand now, I’d probably do the same: a paying customer is a paying customer, but for a wedding? Yeah, I’d draw the line there, too.
Sue a business than won’t sell flowers to a couple of nut-cases, but let how many thousands of illegal aliens run free, unhindered, by US and State laws? Attack normal businesses, but let nut cases run wild, and foreign criminals do as they please.
do you really believe this would be playing out identically if the flower shop owner was a muslim?
The customer would been beheaded.
Apparently not. :-)
If the gov't has the ability to compel me to sell something to you, then it surely has the ability to compel you to buy something from me. See the current ObamaCare debacle.
Speaking solely for myself, I don't think that I'd want to *buy* something from someone who doesn't want my business - especially in something as subjective as wedding flowers. I'd not want to pay top dollar for a centerpiece, and wind up with a stick in a dirty juice glass.
I think that at least some argument can be made about the statute:
“Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.”
The state of Washington does not have the authority to prevent discrimination on the basis of religion. For this reason, retailers can limit their service to couples “married in accordance with Orthodox religious marriage”, excluding those religious *denominations* that permit other forms of marriage, as well as refusing service to those with just secular marriages.
That is, my religion does not have to recognize the legitimacy of their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.
You are 100% correct.
If they had sent their straight friend over to place the order for the flowers, she would have still declined because it was for an activity --- not a disfavored person, but an activity --- she could not morally support.
It had nothing to do with any animus against the individual person who came to the counter.
The florist didn’t discriminate against the customer. They didn’t refuse them service or treat them any different from normal people. The florist simply refused to be a party to a ceremony that violated their firmly held religious beliefs.