Arlene’s Flowers owner feels ‘vilified’ by Washington AG, statement says
RICHLAND, Wash. — Arlene’s Flowers owner Baronelle Stutzman has issued a statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado bakery that refused to make a cake for a same sex wedding.
The Richland flower shop owner and Colorado baker Phillips both cited religious beliefs when refusing services for a gay couple’s wedding.
Stutzman appealed her case to the Washington State Supreme Court, which sided with the couple. She is now waiting to see of the U.S. Supreme Court is willing to hear her case.
On Monday, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement saying the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop will have little effect on the Arlene’s Flowers case.
“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision may add some procedural steps to the Arlene’s Flowers case, but it will not alter its ultimate resolution,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said his goal in the lawsuit was to protect Washingtonians from discrimination, and that he filed a letter to Stutzman asking her to comply with anti-discrimination laws prior to filing the lawsuit.
“Had she agreed to no longer discriminate, I would not have filed a lawsuit. Even after pursuing and prevailing in a lawsuit, I asked for only $1 in costs and fees. That is what the court awarded in our case, along with a modest $1,000 penalty for violating the law,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said if the case is sent back to the state Supreme Court, he is confident the Masterpiece Cakeshop case will not alter the court’s previous decision.
Stutzman issued this response in reaction to Ferguson’s statement:
I serve everyone. What I can’t do is create custom floral arrangements that celebrate events or express messages at odds with my faith. For that, the attorney general has relentlessly prosecuted me, even suing me in my personal capacity.
The man who asked me to design the floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding–Rob Ingersoll–was my customer and friend for over nine years. I knew that he was gay, but that didn’t matter because I serve everyone. He enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. I would gladly serve Rob if he were to come back to my shop today. The attorney general has always ignored that part of my case, choosing to vilify me and my faith instead of respecting my religious beliefs about marriage.
When the state trial court ruled against me at the attorney general’s request, I wrote the attorney general a letter urging him ‘to drop’ the personal claims that risk stripping away ‘my home, business, and other assets.’ He didn’t do that. For him, this case has been about making an example of me–crushing me–all because he disapproves of what I believe about marriage.