State Supreme Court Will Hear Arlene’s Flowers Case
Usually, when a judge makes a ruling and the affected party does not agree with decision, the state court of appeals hears the case. But in this situation, a little different.
Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, will have her case heard by the Washington State Supreme Court. The court will decide whether to overturn the three year old ruling from a Tri-City Superior Court Judge, Alex Ekstrom, who claimed she broke the law by refusing to offer floral services for a same-sex wedding. She offered the supplies to the male couple along with everything they would need, but declined to actually create all the flowers and logistical items. They, along with the ACLU, sued her.
Her attorneys argued that her religious rights, and 1st Amendment Freedom of Expression allowed her to practice her beliefs. One of the comparisons made was her case was no different than legally forcing a musician to write and perform a piece of music for an event or cause that they didn’t support or believe in.
According to the Bellingham Herald, usually the Court of Appeals hears cases first, but the Supreme Court has agreed to rule on it. No immediate word as to when a decision will be handed down.
Stutzman’s attorneys say her client, and other Americans, are being faced with being forced to support and violate their conscience and beliefs or face financial and other ruin. They say people should not have to have their religious and personal beliefs and rights trampled.
However, Attorney General Bob Ferguson claims her actions violate the Consumer Protection Act. He thinks the Court will rule in his favor.