February 17, 2017 | Sex & Society

Washington Supreme Court rules against anti-gay florist

Barronelle StutzmanRichland resident Barronelle Stutzman doesn't approve of gay marriage and feels selling flowers to homos would violate her religious beliefs and make the baby Jesus cry.
 
One gay couple, who had used her services before, were refused flowers for their wedding  They took her to court over her discriminatory ways and in 2013 she was fined a modest $1,000 for violating Washington state's anti-discrimination laws. She appealed the decision, saying that her First Amendment Rights had been violated.
 
The State Supreme Court did not agree, saying that arranging flowers does not constitute protected free speech. As for supporting gay marriage, the court insisted that providing flowers for a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
 
"As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism," the judges decided.
 
The court also blasted her argument that other florists were willing to help the couple, meaning they were still able to get the service they required. No harm, no foul. 
 
"As every other court to address the question has concluded, public accommodations laws do not simply guarantee access to goods or services. Instead, they serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace," the court wrote. "Were we to carve out a patchwork of exceptions for ostensibly justified discrimination, that purpose would be fatally undermined."
 
Stutzman's attorney promised to take the issue to the US Supreme Court.
 
"It's wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will," attorney Kristen Waggoner argued. "Freedom of speech and religion aren't subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees."
 
State governor, Jay Inslee, was pleased with the finding.
 
"By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love," he said in a written statement.
 
The scary part is yet to come. With the US Supreme Court soon to be ideologically slanted to the right, there's a good chance the victory will be short-lived.

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