SCOTUS Declines To Hear Appeal For Anti-LGBTQ Florist

Gay couple dances after getting married
Gay couple dances after getting married
(stock image via Depositphotos)

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by anti-LGBTQ florist Barronelle Stutzman of Washington state who refused to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding.

Stutzman’s petition is listed on Friday’s orders list indicating the high court had denied certiorari, or refused to take up the case. No reason was given although the orders note that Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have granted the petition to hear the case. In the Supreme Court, at least four justices have to agree to take up a case.

The decision means the ruling by the Washington Supreme Court will stand.

The sad story began in 2013 when Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed, longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers owned by Stutzman, approached the florist for flowers for their dream wedding. Stutzman refused claiming doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

In 2017, the case had made its way up to the Washington state high court which ruled Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in public accommodations. The florist was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Stutzman appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 wherein SCOTUS vacated the lower court’s decision and asked the Washington court to review the case in light of a narrow ruling in the case of Jack Phillips, owner of the Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop.

A year later, in June 2019, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision finding there had been no animosity involved against Stutzman in the original ruling.

Today’s decision is the end of the road in terms of legal options for Stutzman.


“After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we cancelled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again. We had a small ceremony at home instead,” Ingersoll told ABC News in a statement. “We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did.”

Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court has once again said that critical nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people are legally enforceable and has set a strong and definitive precedent.”

Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for the virulently anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, called the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case “tragic.”

This is the third high profile LGBTQ-related case addressed by the Supreme Court.

In June, SCOTUS issued a unanimous but very narrow ruling in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Philadelphia which had refused to certify same-sex couples who applied to become foster parents.

The ruling was not the broad ‘license to discriminate’ anti-LGBTQ advocates had hoped for. Instead, the justices found in favor of CSS because the city hadn’t applied its own policy of exemptions uniformly. The decision only applies to CSS and its contract with Philadelphia.

And earlier this week, SCOTUS also rejected to hear an appeal by a Virginia school board seeking ban transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. That decision sets precedent regarding restroom discrimination in schools in at least five states.

(Source: ABC News)

Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Against Anti-LGBTQ Florist

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld its 2017 ruling which found florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple in 2013.
Homophobic florist Barronelle Stutzman

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld its 2017 ruling which found florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple in 2013.

Stutzman’s legal team had appealed the original ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but last June the high court punted.

Instead of reviewing the case, SCOTUS vacated the Washington state Supreme Court ruling and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the caseto ensure they did not rule with any religious bias.

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court upheld its original ruling in a unanimous decision,

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement which read, “Washington state law protects same-sex couples from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the same way it protects Washingtonians from discrimination based on their religion, veteran or military status, disability, race and other protected classes.”

The case began when Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry in 2013 after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before.

They approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs.

Washington state’s public accommodation laws specifically prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, it’s worth noting that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman. GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

However, Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

Following Wednesday’s ruling, Stutzman’s attorneys (from the virulently anti-LGBTQ law firm Alliance Defending Freedom) say they plan to take their appeal (again) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Source: KEPR)

SCOTUS Dodges Anti-LGBT Florist Case, Orders Lower Court To Revisit Decision

Barronelle Stutzman
 

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to rule on the case of Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding in 2013.

Although SCOTUS didn’t take the case, the justices instead vacated the 2017 ruling against Stutzman by the Washington state Supreme Court and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the case and consider the SCOTUS ruling earlier this month regarding Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

In that case, SCOTUS didn’t decide the central dispute which is: do anti-discrimination laws in 22 states bar “creative artist” business owners from legally discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or do “deeply held religious beliefs” trump the rights of LGBTs?

Instead, 7 Supreme Court justices found that the Colorado state commission on civil rights appeared to show hostility towards religion in reaching its decision against the baker. In doing so, SCOTUS reversed the fine ordered on Phillips.

Today, SCOTUS told the Washington state Supreme Court to revisit the Stutzman case to see if similar anti-religious bias existed in coming to its decision regarding the florist.

In 2013, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before. But when they approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs. Washington state’s public accommodation laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she’s cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, its important to remember that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman.

GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in response to today’s decision saying their work for LGBT equality will continue:

“The Supreme Court today asked the Washington courts to re-examine our clients’ case in light of the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop,” said James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “To be clear, the court made no indication the lower courts ruled incorrectly and made no decision on the case’s merits. We are confident that the Washington State Supreme Court will rule once again in favor of the same-sex couple, and reaffirm its decision that no business has a right to discriminate. Our work to ensure LGBT equality is the law and the norm in all 50 states will continue.”

Podcast: Jeb Havens, Barronelle Stutzman, Texas’ “Bathroom Bill,” Finland Ready For Marriage Equality

Click play below as I recap this week’s top headlines from politics, pop culture and entertainment of interest to the LGBT community:

• Anti-LGBT florist Barronelle Stutzman loses again – this time in the Washington state supreme court over refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding

• Texas gets pushback from the NBA and major stars on it’s proposed anti-transgender “bathroom bill”

• North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper shares his plan to repeal his state’s anti-LGBT law, HB2

• Finland’s Parliament kills a last ditch attempt to block same-sex marriage

• Out singer/songwriter Jeb Havens dropped his uber-romantical, world-traveler music video just in time for Valentine’s Day – “Pushy Little Compass Heart” from his album, Home Base

Hit play below – and share the link to share The Randy Report podcast!

Unanimous Ruling From Washington State Supreme Court Against Anti-Gay Florist

Barronelle Stutzman


ABC News reports that Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington state florist who refused to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple in 2013, has lost again in court.

This time it was a unanimous ruling from the nine Washington state Supreme Court justices who ruled Stutzman discriminated against the gay couple in 2013 according to the state’s public accommodation laws.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the couple sued her, saying she broke state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws, and the lower court agreed.

Today, the state’s highest court upheld that verdict.

Stutzman’s supporters maintain the ruling could “bankrupt” her. The penalty for the public accommodation violation is $1,000. Virulently anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom is handling her court case for free.

Stutzman’s defense was that she had previously sold flowers to the couple, but had to refrain on wedding flowers due to her personal religious beliefs. She feels selling flowers for a wedding she is not attending amounts to “promoting” or “supporting” same-sex marriage.

Stutzman’s lawyers say they will now take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Washington State Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Anti-Gay Florist’s Appeal

Florist Barronelle Stutzman

After refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding in 2013, Barronelle Stutzman was found to have violated Washington state’s public accommodation laws and fined $1,000.

Stutzman has appealed the decision to the state’s supreme court, and the court has agreed to hear the appeal:

Washington’s Supreme Court says it will hear an appeal of a Richland flower shop owner who ran into legal trouble for refusing to provide services for a same-sex wedding in 2013. The court issued a decision Wednesday saying it would hear the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the proprietor of Arlene’s Flowers. Last year, Stutzman was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for refusing to provide flowers for the wedding of a long-time customer. The great-grandmother has since become a national figure, testifying before state lawmakers in Indiana and Kansas.

It’s worth noting that Stutzman received a windfall of over $170,000 from a crowdfunding campaign via supporters.

To cover a $1,000 fine.

Barronelle Stutzman Plays 21 Questions And Lies About Breaking The Law

Right-wing website The Daily Signal produces what would appear to be a sweet little Q&A with Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman.

But then, you’ll recall Stutzman was fined by Washington state for violating the local public accommodation laws when she refused to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding. Not so sweet.

She now claims enormous financial hardship because she was sued by the state, though her fine was only $1,000, even as crowd-sourcing campaigns have raised over $174,000 in gifts to her.

At the 1:06 mark, she’s asked if she broke the law? She literally lies and says “no.”

But don’t they make her look sweet and innocent?

Washington Florist Set To Receive Over $150K After Violating State Law

The Washington state florist who was found guilty of breaking state public accommodations laws stands to receive over $150,000 in donations from a GoFundMe campaign set up for her.

Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist, refused to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding. This constituted a violation of state law because sexual orientation is included in the state’s public accommodation laws.

The Washington State Attorney General and the same-sex couple sued Barronelle.

The court found her liable for violating the Washington Law Against Discrimination and ruled that both the state and the couple may collect damages and attorneys’ fees from Barronelle’s business and personal assets.

A friend then set up a crowd-sourcing campaign alleging Stutzman could “lose her business, her home, and her savings.”

In reality, she was fined a whopping $1,000.

The “friend” writes on the GoFundMe page:

The funds will be held until the legal challenge has been resolved and the full extent of the need is assessed. Funds may be used to help cover any outstanding legal fees and costs imposed from the opposition. Funds may also be used to help replace the assets taken as a result of the legal challenges brought against Barronelle. The total cost to Barronelle is unknown because the legal challenges are ongoing. In the event the funds provided by donors exceed Barronelle’s needs, the funds will be used to cover those same expenses for others who defend their constitutional right to live consistently with their faith.

Washington State Florist Fined $1,000 For Refusing Service To Gays

Baronelle Stutzman

Remember the florist in Washington state who refused to sell a gay couple flowers for their wedding?

Remember how the haters screamed that the gays were going to ruin the florist by taking her home and livelihood away?

Yeah. It ended up a whopping $1,001 fine.

From the AP:

Benton County Superior Judge Alexander Ekstrom’s ruling gives Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington, 60 days to pay the state for her refusal to serve Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed when they sought to buy wedding flowers in 2013.

Stutzman, who had sold flowers to Robert Ingersoll for years, knew he was gay and said when he sought to buy wedding flowers that the marriage went against her beliefs as a Southern Baptist. After they were refused flowers, Ingersoll and Freed went ahead with a smaller wedding than they had planned. They got married in their home with 11 guests and flowers from another florist.

In a February ruling, Ekstrom found that Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers because of sexual orientation violated Washington’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

“My primary goal has always been to end illegal discrimination,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “I’m pleased that today’s ruling clearly prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples.”