OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington, had been fined by a lower court for denying service to a gay couple in 2013. Stutzman said she was exercising her First Amendment rights.
But the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
“As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism,” the opinion said.
Stutzman’s lawyers immediately said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
Gov. Jay Inslee lauded Thursday’s ruling, saying it was “in favor of equality for all Washingtonians.”
“By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love,” Inslee said in a written statement.