State Supreme Court will Hear Arlene’s Flowers Appeal
In an important step in this long-running battle between Arlene's Flowers and the Washington State Attorney General, the Washington State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal from owner Barronelle Stutzman's attorneys.
One of her attorneys, Kristen Waggoner, wrote a statement that "No one should be faced with a choice between their freedom of speech and conscience on one hand, and personal and professional ruin on the other."
She went on to say the American people oppose what she called strong-armed actions by the government that force citizens to create "expression against their will."
However, Ferguson said it's illegal in Washington state to discriminate against same-sex couples, and he will continue to stand by the law. Sexual orientation was added to the Consumer Protection Law over 8 years ago, but this is the first time it's been tested in Washington state.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case directly, instead of sending it to the State Court of Appeals.
The case has been battled since 2013, when Stutzman declined to provide floral services for the same-sex wedding of a long-time customer, Robert Ingersoll. In addition to Ferguson's actions, the ACLU also filed a suit against Stutzman on behalf of the couple.
Supporters of Stutzman, including some legal experts, say this is no different than forcing a musician to compose a piece of music, or perform at a wedding where beliefs and lifestyle contrary to theirs are being practiced.
The Court did not initially say when they will hear the appeal.