Court Rules Against Washington State Florist Who Refused To Make Wedding Flower Arrangement For Gay Couple

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Baronelle Stutzman
Baronelle Stutzman

We previously wrote HERE of Richland, Washington Florist Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, who caused a row when she refused to provide her floral services for a gay wedding. Now, a Benton County Superior Court Judge ruled that she violated the state’s consumer protection act that bars discrimination against a protected class.

The legal action was brought by customer Robert Ingersoll and the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Judge Alex Ekstom rejected Baronelle’s arguments that her actions were protected by free speech and religious freedom guarantees stating in part:

“For over 135 years, the Supreme Court has held that laws may prohibit religiously motivated action, as opposed to belief. The Courts have confirmed the power of the Legislative Branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief.”

Robert had been a customer of Arlene’s Flowers for several years prior to the incident in question. Baronelle was aware that he was gay and had a partner Curt Freed for whom he purchased flowers. When Washington statutorily provided for gay marriage in 2012, Robert asked Baronelle to make the wedding arrangement for him. But, Baronelle declined, putting her hand upon Robert’s and stating that “because of [her] relationship with Jesus Christ”, she would not be able to do so—according to her statement in a deposition.

Curt and Robert sued. They cited the Washington Consumer Protection Act and its laws against discrimination. They supported by the Washington Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the State Attorney General who welcomed the Superior Court ruling.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a statement said:

“The law is clear: If you choose to provide a service to couples of the opposite sex, you must provide the same service to same-sex couples.”

The state is seeking the two thousand dollar fine the statute provides.

The Alliance Defending Freedom organization announced the day after it would on behalf of Baronelle appeal the ruling. The alliance claimed that the ruling would bring financial ruin Baronelle and Arlene’s Flowers

By Darren Smith

Source: KOMO News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

271 thoughts on “Court Rules Against Washington State Florist Who Refused To Make Wedding Flower Arrangement For Gay Couple”

  1. I am a Presbyterian and we have a Representative Government that uses that as its basis. I am a Deacon in my Church. I sing in not only choir but the Methodist Choir for Easter and Christmas Cantata’s and at Christmas we do Handel’s Messiah all over SE Missouri. I live for Gods Glory. I am sorry if I have insulted you. Here is something eloquent I found on this scripture that should not be chipped in stone but baptized with living water so the Holy Spirit can continue to flow from it.

    Jeremiah, who in the midst of the exile of his people said, “God is not finished with us yet.”

    Jeremiah who saw the despair and the destruction all around him and dared to announce that there is still hope.

    Jeremiah, who wrote 50 chapters of prophetic judgment but had the good sense to include 2 chapters of comfort. But the comfort doesn’t say everything’s going to be OK, that God’s going to swoop in and fix everything. The comfort comes in the form of a new heart beating in our chests, a heart that beats for justice and hope and abundant life for everyone. Everyone.

    “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

  2. Before you crow too much — Which Church do you go to because I pulled that out of generic and I am tired and It got by me.

  3. happypappies

    No, it does not refer to the second coming

    Christian view

    which is expected to happen with the second arrival of Jesus Christ
    ……………………………………………………………………………

    Ok so you’ve now proven my point by contradicting yourself in the same post—-LOL

    Everybody, please don’t take anybody’s word–research things told to you………

  4. How can you say the evil one is the gay and the atheist when it is you who can’t take the plank out of your eye and can’t stop casting stones and judging other men when you have been told to do so?

  5. happypappies

    Your position on atheism and homosexuality is like that of many Christians, which is one reason why I am not a Christian. You call it love to open your tent wide to every abomination.
    ……………………………………………………

    I just saw this that you are saying you’re not a Christian–even MORE REASON to stop talking about what you know nothing of…………………..

    1. Christians don’t condemn anything

      No, it does not refer to the second coming

      Christian view

      The Christian view of the New Covenant is a new relationship between God and humans mediated by Jesus which necessarily includes all people,[10] both Jews and Gentiles, upon sincere declaration that one believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and God. The New Covenant also breaks the generational curse of the original sin on all children of Adam if they believe in Jesus Christ, after people are judged for their own sins, which is expected to happen with the second arrival of Jesus Christ

  6. happypappies

    Would you please read this especially verse 34 because it tells us to butt out the way I see and that he will forgive us. It is the Law of the New Covenant and I am tired of Evangelists dragging out old laws
    …………………………………………………………………….

    My patience is really over with you. You keep quoting Scripture and applying it INCORRECTLY–you are leading people astray.

    You don’t know what your talking about–you are Biblically illiterate……

    You don’t listen or research when I told you ‘the old laws’ are still in affect, to prove me wrong–you just keep going in your delusion.

    You go out of your way to justify gayhood, when, as a Christian you should be condemning it.

    Jeremiah 31:31-34 deals with the after effect of Christ’s return to Earth–the Second Coming in Revelation—it has nothing to do with NOW.

    STOP LEADING THE SHEEP ASTRAY!!!

  7. that is not to say I know what any judgements are to be but we should not worry about it and leave it up to God. You all go on and on about Liberty but don’t seem to know the first thing about it. It has conditions.

    1. happypappies wrote: “that is not to say I know what any judgements are to be but we should not worry about it and leave it up to God.”

      Typical Christian cop-out. Leave it up to God. Have you ever considered that God left it up to us to sort out?

      As our Declaration of Independence states, governments are instituted among men. Clearly men must make judgments. Why do we call them judges in the judiciary? Because they judge between right and wrong. You quote one part of the Bible written to hypocrites warning them not to judge, but in another place of the Bible he says that the spiritual man judges all things. So which are you going to be? The hypocrite who should not judge, or the spiritual man who judges everything?

      1. Typical Christan Cop out? Really?

        Mark 7

        Jesus Sorting it out with the Hypocrites

        9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

        14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] [f]

  8. Davidm2575

    Would you please read this especially verse 34 because it tells us to butt out the way I see and that he will forgive us. It is the Law of the New Covenant and I am tired of Evangelists dragging out old laws

    Jeremiah 31:31-34New King James Version (NKJV)
    A New Covenant

    31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

  9. Davidm2575

    Your position on atheism and homosexuality is like that of many Christians, which is one reason why I am not a Christian. You call it love to open your tent wide to every abomination.

    David where did Jesus say that Homosexuality was taboo. Once again, how can you be a Christian anyway when you have never released the Old Testament Covenant and embraced the new one and wagged your personal finger about sin? God is ready till the last minute since Jesus Christ came down here and took the cup from him on Gesthemene – something you obviously have not taken into your heart ever, for every sinner. We don’t judge these people. We are a free Republic. If Gay People want to put on the Trappings of Marriage. Let them. They have their entire life to live to figure it out. It is not YOUR JOB or any other persons to tell them how to live their life.

    Matthew 7
    Do Not Judge Others

    1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2For you will be treated as you treat others.a The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.b

    3“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eyec when you have a log in your own? 4How can you think of saying to your friend,d ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

    If your god is really like that, then he is my enemy. My perception of God is that he is holy. Why else would a good man like Jesus come preaching repentance? Why repent if God accepts you just the way you are? This new gospel of Christianity is what has brought us to the place now where evil is good and good is evil. Not even civil law has any integrity anymore. The law now is whatever men decide it to be. The concept of answering to the Supreme Lawgiver or even the consideration of Natural Law is merely a vague memory in the minds of most jurists. Not even our legal system of checks and balances is working.

    You said it David. I did not. I am so sorry that God is not Holy enough for you since Jesus came to save us. Do you seriously think people don’t sin anymore after they make an error? Just like the Men who wrote the Bible for Constantine who were Homosexuals themselves. No one takes his advice because they can’t bear to look in the mirror.

    And right now, I am probably casting the pearls before swine like he said in the next verse because you probably aren’t even reading this.

    People have their whole life as a spiritual journey to figure it out and yes, he accepts Muslims and Murderers too and forgives them as well. Or weren’t you aware of how crowded it is going to be when people are Spiritually Awakened. It takes more than being “good” to be Spiritually Awakened. You have to be able to open yourself wide to Jesus and give yourself to others no matter what they throw at you. You have to pray for their souls and try your best to do for others. That is what I try to do all the time.

    I don’t believe that Our Creator is a Human type that makes laws like men. I believe that is a misconception and that Jesus came down incarnated as a Man to try to help out.

    Some where along the way, there was some confusion, and this is why Jesus came and if that is not patently obvious to intelligent people, Well, they need to go back and re read the scriptures in Isaiah and Jeremiah

    1. happypappies wrote: “It is not YOUR JOB or any other persons to tell them how to live their life.”

      This is a law blog. It is the job of the law to judge between right and wrong and to tell people when they have crossed the line and cause harm to their neighbor. More than that, the law is to be enforced with civil penalties.

      The law in the case of this florist is telling her how she must respond to a request by homosexuals to make them a floral arrangement for them to celebrate their marriage to each other. The law is saying that it is wrong for her to ask them to find another florist because her faith in God teaches her that gay marriage is wrong. She views marriage not just as an institution recognized by civil government but also as a sacred institution created by God. Therefore, while she cares for them and wishes them the best, she cannot in good conscience help them celebrate something she considers to be sinful.

      My comments were not personal. My comments are based upon a rational analysis of what the institution of marriage is and how government should not condemn religious based convictions that harm nobody. It is about how this anti-discrimination law is wrong and should be repealed because it leads to injustice.

      Even if the law remained in effect, she did not violate it. She never discriminated against their sexual orientation. She discriminated against being forced to participate in gay marriage. The fact that she was still judged to be in violation just shows how biased the judge is to use a law crafted in one way to mean something different.

  10. Davidm2575

    Many Christians are atheists. We use to have a Christian post regularly here who openly admitted that he was an atheist. He was a Christian for social reasons. And even among those Christians who are theists, they do not honestly follow their faith from their heart. They are mostly hypocrites using the name of Christianity to their own advantage. I am not sure if there are many today, whether theist or atheist, whose word and oath is sure. Integrity is almost non-existent. Back in Locke’s day, there were people who would die before breaking their word.

    I am not going to debate this as it is a falsehood. You either believe in Jesus Christ or you do not.

    Wearing a Social cloak and swearing on a Bible is the basest form of hypocrisy there is. At least the Gays were willing to come out of the closet and ask for the love of God still as they are God’s children.

    David I think you channel the Spirits of the Founders for your Spiritual Welfare. Unfortunately for you, they are human and you are unwilling to face the fact that they made mistakes also. There are people today who would die before breaking their word also. I bed Aridog is one of them.

  11. david

    You champion your freedoms based on your bent and bias. This is an issue of freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. Integrity is a word that can be interpreted selectively to suit the situation. I’m sure the extremists in the Middle East consider their actions to have integrity. They also quote their sources.

    The words of Jefferson and Madison were not meant to leave any one speechless. That intent would not illustrate integrity on their parts. It is clear that the founding fathers designed the beginning of their experiment as it is clear that they knew that it would evolve. ‘Man perishes because he fails to join the beginning with the end.’ That pre-Socratic fragment can mean anything you wish, to support your argument or mine. What makes it stronger is its purity, not of any religious dictates, but simply an observation of humanity. Religion is beginning but not the end. If there is some supreme being, what a failed experiment to have its creation dependent on divine directives instead of common sense and rational thought.

    The one thing that has been a constant in the evolution of the US or the joining of the beginning with the end is the evolution of the people to decide the laws under which they wish to live. It is an achievement for this society to find that the freedom from discrimination is greater than the freedom of religious dictates. We see where that leads, where it lead, and that it is highly selective.

    1. issac wrote: “The one thing that has been a constant in the evolution of the US or the joining of the beginning with the end is the evolution of the people to decide the laws under which they wish to live.”

      Except that has not happened here at all. The people vote to keep the definition of civil marriage as being between a man and a woman, as it has been for thousands of years. Elite unelected judges then override the wisdom of the people and say, no, you can’t do that. We are going to force you to change the definition of marriage. This is no different than when King George forced his laws upon the colonies. We are now being ruled by tyrants. Most of the people who are now supporting gay marriage do so not because the issue has been debated and discussed, but because they don’t like conflict. They especially don’t like conflict with judges, so they just say if they want to do it so bad, just go ahead. I don’t care. In the end we are exchanging thousands of years of legal precedence for a 15 year fad that ultimately destroys the natural law concept of civil marriage.

      issac wrote: “It is an achievement for this society to find that the freedom from discrimination is greater than the freedom of religious dictates.”

      Freedom originated in religious sentiment. I have quoted to you laws from two of our founders which illustrate this. Your response is basically to say that they were archaic thinkers and we need to move beyond them. You seem to be of the opinion that we are now wiser and smarter than our founding fathers were, so you have no compunction about overturning our foundations of government.

      You speak of freedom from discrimination, but that is impossible. Instead, the laws that seek to end discrimination simply change discrimination from one group of people to another group. It causes the gays to come out of the closet and many theists to go into the closet to avoid the discrimination. In this particular case with the florist, she is being discriminated against by the government. These homosexuals insist that she make them flowers for their wedding. When she declines because of her religious convictions, she gets fined. That is discrimination.

    1. Xhawke I have to cut and paste an X it everytime as I am stuck inside and I have to have a friend drop a keyboard in so I dropped it if it was me sorry. 😉

  12. And while we argue and debate…….the lawyers, politicians, rich, and those who want a state of Idiocrasy smile, for yet another unnecessary control mechanism strikes the livelihoods of all and forces its hand despite the supreme laws of the land. If you cannot hire who you want, you cannot sell to who you want, these are major areas of business corrupted and there is then no limit as to what laws can be put into place.

    1. Wait until tomorrow, when the Internet, as you know it….ENDS

      Google ‘Net Neutrality’ and get ready for your internet provider’s bill to increase.

      Remember, anytime you want to pay more and get less, vote demonratic.

      1. “You can keep your internet fair and we will call it a Mandate and the People are too Stupid”- Barack Hussein Obama

    2. J

      CS Lewis type quote

      So, let them leave everyone alone and have their liberties and quit the bs. They should have never put equal in the Declaration and General Welfare of the People and John Locke should have been shot for being this first Classical Liberal

  13. Isaac, There are many Canucks who vacation in Mission Beach[San Diego]. I had a nice chat w/ some folks from Vancouver today. BC and Alberta seem to be the main ones, but also met some folks from Ontario. Thankfully, I haven’t run into any Habitants!

  14. You’re doing an excellent job Happy. If your church believes the way you do, I’d almost be willing to join it.

    1. Inga (Annie) We are a church of love. I have been here 6 years and any problems have always been resolved 😉

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