Officials in Washington state evidenced no hostility toward religion when they sanctioned a florist for refusing to serve LGBTQ clients, the state's highest court has unanimously ruled.
In its June 6 ruling, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed a decision it released in 2017 concerning Arlene's Flowers, a florist in Richland whose owner, Barronelle Stutzman, refused to provide flowers for the wedding of a same-sex couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, in 2013.
Stutzman said serving the couple would violate her religious beliefs, but state officials said Stutzman was instead in violation of a state law that protects members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination and fined her. Backed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group, Stutzman sued.
Although the state high court ruled against Stutzman two years ago, it was ordered to review the opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court. Ruling in a separate case from Colorado, the U.S. high court found that officials in Colorado had engaged in religious bias against a baker who refused to serve LGBTQ people.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled in a decision last month that there was no evidence of bias in the Stutzman case.
"We are confident that the courts resolved this dispute with tolerance, and we therefore find no reason to change our original judgment," Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud wrote.
The court also rejected Stutzman's...