Washington Supreme Court Rules Against Christian Florist Barronelle Stutzman Who Refused to Serve Homosexual Wedding

Barronelle Stutzman, center, a Richland, Washington, florist who was fined for denying service to a gay couple in 2013, is surrounded by supporters after a hearing before Washington’s Supreme Court in Bellevue on Nov. 15, 2016. Elaine Thompson / AP file

The Washington Supreme Court has again ruled against Christian grandma florist Barronelle Stutzman who faces the risk of crippling fines for refusing to create floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

The state’s highest court unanimously upheld its 2017 decision, leaving Stutzman on the hook to pay thousands in legal fees for violating the state’s non-discrimination law that protects on the basis of sexual orientation.

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Washington court’s 2017 decision last June and sent the case back to the court for further consideration in light of the court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips. Phillips was accused of violating Colorado’s discrimination law for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The Supreme Court asked the Washington high court to consider whether or not there was any animus against the florist’s religious beliefs when the lower courts ruled against Stutzman previously.

The court found in Phillips’ case that the Colorado government did display religious hostility to the baker’s Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

The Washington Supreme Court stated in its opinion Thursday that neither the state supreme court or the lower state court in Benton County acted with religious animus.

The court again asserted that Stutzman’s refusal in 2013 to provide flower arrangements for the wedding of Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed to be a violation of state law.

“They did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution,” the ruling reads.

In its conclusion, the court stressed that “[d]iscrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case — refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to Ingersoll and Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding — constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination],” the ruling reads.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith