Barronelle Stutzman, a private florist, has been found in violation of Washington’s anti-discrimination laws, after she refused to sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding. The ruling made by Superior ?Court Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom was announced on Wednesday.
The case began in 2013 when Rob Ingersoll approached the florist to work on his wedding to Curt Freed. The florist stated in Reuters that due to her religion, she would be unable to work with the couple. The couple hired a lawyer, which sparked a massive debate across Washington
Stutzman’s lawyer argued that the florist had the right to refuse service based on a religious exemption, and that her floral arrangements were protected by freedom of speech. The judge found the arguments to be thin, at best, and ruled in favor of the couple.
According to Stutzman’s lawyer, she plans to appeal the ruling. Two other similar cases have recently been in the news. A same-sex couple has taken Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece caskes in Colorado to court for refusing to make a cake for their same-sex union. Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, are also embroiled in a legal battle after refusing to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple.