Washington state florist fined for refusing to service gay wedding

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2015 11:42 PM

(Reuters) - A judge in Washington state on Friday fined a florist $1,000 after she refused to sell flower arrangements for a gay couple's wedding, officials said.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who along with the couple - Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed - sued florist Barronelle Stutzman in 2013, applauded the ruling in a statement.

"My primary goal has always been to end illegal discrimination," Ferguson said. "I'm pleased that today's ruling clearly prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples."

Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander Ekstrom's order on Friday also bars Stutzman and her Richland shop, Arlene's Flowers, from offering goods or services to straight couples that aren't also made available to same-sex couples, the statement said.

Stutzman was also required to pay $1 in court fees.

Ingersoll and Freed were longtime customers of Stutzman's, and asked her to provide decorations for their wedding two years ago, following the state's legalization of same-sex marriage.

Stutzman maintained that her Christian beliefs prevented her from selling flowers for the wedding, citing "(her) relationship with Jesus Christ," according to court documents.

Last month, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander Ekstrom ruled in a 60-page opinion that Stutzman violated the state's Consumer Protection Act by refusing to service the wedding.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Michael Perry)