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Washington Florist Found Guilty Of Discriminating In Public Accomodations Lawsuit

Washington state florist Arlene’s Flowers has been found guilty of discrimination according to the state’s public accommodation  and consumer protection laws.

From ABC News:

A florist in Washington state who refused to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding violated state consumer protection and anti-discrimination law, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom rejected arguments from the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland that her actions were protected by her freedoms of speech and religion. While religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, actions based on those beliefs aren’t necessarily protected, he said.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which represented the couple, welcomed the ruling.

“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,” Ferguson said.

The law allows for penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, as well as legal fees. The state will likely seek those against Stutzman individually as well as her business, said Peter Lavallee, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

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