Florist Found Guilty of Discrimination for Declining Same-Sex Wedding Could Lose Home and Life Savings
ICC Note: After Baronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington declined to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding due to her beliefs, she was faced with a lawsuit in March of 2012. Even though she provided the customer with a referral to other florists who would be willing to help, on February 18th, 2015, a judge ruled against her in the discrimination suit. The Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion asking for the judge and the ACLU, who also filed a suit, to be prohibited from personally attacking Stutzman.
By Heather Clark
02/19/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A florist from Washington is in jeopardy of losing her business, home and life savings after a judge ruled against her on Wednesday for declining to fulfill an order for a same-sex ceremony, but rather provided a referral for the regular customer.
As previously reported, Baronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland was leveled with a lawsuit March 2012 by State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who claimed that she violated the law by not fulfilling the order.
Stutzman had been approached by one of her faithful customers, Robert Ingersoll, a homosexual, as he wanted her to supply the flowers for his upcoming ceremony with his partner, Curt. She states that she politely explained that she would not be able to help in regard to the event, but referred him to three other florists that may help.
“I just took his hands and said, ‘I’m sorry. I cannot do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’” Stutzman told reporters.
But after Ingersoll decided to post on Facebook about the matter, controversy arose on both sides of the issue—both for and against Stutzman. The florist said that she received a number of threatening and angry comments.
“It blew way out of proportion,” Stutzman explained. “I’ve had hate mail. I’ve had people that want to burn my building. I’ve had people that will never shop here again and [vow to] tell all their friends.”
Weeks later, Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued Stutzman a letter advising that she must accommodate homosexual ceremonies or be subject to a lawsuit and heavy fines. He included with his letter a form that offered Stutzman the opportunity to recant and agree to comply with the law. She refused, and was subsequently met with a discrimination suit.