Wash. Allowed to Sue Florist in Gay Wedding Case
A Washington judge says the state can bring a consumer protection lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled Wednesday that Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, can be held personally liable for violating the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
Stutzman said she has employed gays and serves gay customers but declined to provide flowers for a gay wedding because she believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Kristen Waggoner, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, is representing Stutzman in the case.
"Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are not willing to promote any and all messages," Waggoner explained.
"A government that forces any American to create a message contrary to her own convictions and surrender her livelihood is a government every American should fear," she added.
Meanwhile, the Washington attorney general is asking for a permanent injunction that would force Stutzman and her business to comply with the state's consumer protection law.