Last year Washington State’s Attorney General sued Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts on the basis of consumer protection. Florist Barronelle Stutzman had refused to sell flowers to a long time customer when the arrangements were to be used for a same-sex marriage ceremony.
Although Stutzman did not have any qualms about serving serving gay customers, she “didn’t want to be involved in a same-sex marriage.” “I just put my hands on his and told [the customer who made the request] because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I couldn’t do that, couldn’t do his wedding,” Stutzman said in a deposition.
A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled that the law trumped her rights of conscience. “Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” said Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom in his 60-page opinion.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced last Thursday that he would accept $2,000 in penalties, $1 in fees and costs, plus an agreement not to discriminate in the future and to end further litigation.