OLYMPIA, WA, – A Christian florist in Washington state could be slapped with hefty fines because she refused to provide a floral arrangement for a gay “wedding.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed charges today in Benton County Superior Court.
On March 1 Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, refused to sell flowers to Robert Ingersoll for his “marriage” to Curt Freed.
“He said he decided to get married, and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’” Stutzman said. She said it was the only wedding she had declined in 37 years.
But Ferguson said that stance violates the law.
“Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation,” Ferguson said. “If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service.”
The state of Washington is seeking $2,000 in fines for every reported violation, as well as a permanent injunction requiring the shop to violate its conscience or stop selling flowers for wedding ceremonies.
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