A grandmother who has been a florist for 40 years could could face major financial losses after refusing to serve a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Barronelle Stutzman of Washington had done floral arrangements for gay customers in the past, including the couple suing her, but says she declined to do them for a gay wedding ceremony because it would be contrary to her faith.
The superior court will hear oral arguments Friday for State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman.
The gay couple who asked for the flowers for their ceremony is suing Stutzman and is represented by the ACLU.
The state is suing her business, and her personally, meaning she could lose her business and personal assets, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Plenty of other florists are willing to provide flowers for same-sex ceremonies, yet the state attorney general insists on going after not only her business, but her personal assets as well,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner said in a press release. “It’s nothing more than a blatant attempt to strong-arm Barronelle into surrendering her freedom and livelihood.”
Washington legalized same-sex marriage in 2012. Gay marriage is now legal in 35 states. The case is one of many around the nation where wedding professionals are under fire for refusing to service gay couples.
“Everybody is entitled to their own private religious beliefs and the ACLU respects that strongly,” spokesman for ACLU Washington Doug Honig told Reuters. “But a business open to the public cannot use religion as a reason to justify discriminating.”
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