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.