Florist who refused to sell arrangement to same-sex couple drops Supreme Court petition

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A Washington state florist who refused to make a deal for a same-sex couple agreed to settle a lawsuit against her, even as the Supreme Court considered a motion to hear the case.

In 2013, Barronelle Stutzman, 77, refused to sell Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, a gay couple, a flower arrangement for their wedding because of her religious beliefs. Now the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group representing Stutzman, issued a statement Thursday, announcing that she had come to an agreement with Freed and Ingersoll.

Stutzman agreed to pay $ 5,000 in damages and withdrew his request for a new hearing by the United States Supreme Court.

In ADF’s statement was a letter written by Stutzman in which she explained her legal journey after refusing Freed and Ingersoll’s flower arrangement request.

“What followed were lawsuits brought against me and a concerted effort to either force me to change my religious beliefs or pay a devastating price for believing them, including being threatened with losing my home, business and life savings.” She wrote. .


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Ingersoll and Freed published a editorial in the Seattle Times explaining how being turned away from Stutzman’s business made them feel.

“We were reminded of how discrimination works: individuals are categorized, depersonalized, labeled,” they wrote.

The couple went on to explain why they pursued their lawsuit because they did not want Washington State “to become a state where gay and lesbian couples had to fear being turned away simply because of who they are. “.

According to CNN, the couple said they would donate the $ 5,000 settlement money to a local advocacy group that provides peer support, education and advocacy to LGBTQ + people, their parents and allies .

The legal battle began in 2013 after Ingersoll and Freed filed a complaint in Washington Superior Court for Benton County, where they argued they had been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation by Arlene’s Flowers. They argued that this violated Washington’s anti-discrimination law, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and preserves the right not to be discriminated against.

That lawsuit eventually went to the Washington State Supreme Court, which found Stutzman had broken the law. This decision will now remain in force.

Stutzman then requested that his case be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, which CNN said was dismissed last July due to dissent from Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito. However, Stutzman’s lawyers have asked the court to reconsider its ruling, citing a ruling in a separate litigation.

Although Stutzman conceded her legal battle, she cited hope in a separate case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, which is also managed by ADF. This case centers on a web designer who challenged the design of websites for wedding ceremonies that promote or celebrate same-sex marriages in Colorado.


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