Main | Thursday, January 08, 2015

WASHINGTON: Court Rules That State Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against Florist

Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The state of Washington can sue the owner of a Richland flower shop, as well as her business, for refusing to sell flowers for the same-sex wedding of a longtime customer, a Benton County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday. Arlene’s Flowers, and owner Barronelle Stutzman, are the centerpiece of a nationally watched battle involving the scope of state anti-discrimination laws and the right — if any — to deny service based on personal religious convictions. Judge Alex Ekstrom, in his Wednesday ruling, found that the Washington attorney general can sue both Stutzman and her business for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act as well as the Washington Law Against Discrimination. In his ruling, Judge Ekstrom said that “the clear language (of the consumer and anti-discrimination laws) supports both individual and corporate liability.” “As admitted by Stutzman, she not only participated in the conduct alleged, her personal actions (in defining corporate policy and in her interaction with Ingersoll) constitute the sum total of the conduct complained of by the plaintiffs,” Ekstrom wrote.
Stuzman is being defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom. The case will go to trial sometime this spring.

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