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US judge rules state can sue florist who refused gay couple

Naith Payton January 8, 2015
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A judge in Washington has ruled that the state can sue a florist who refused to provide a gay couple with flowers for their wedding.

In March last year, Barnolle Stuzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Benton City refused to provide flowers for the wedding, citing her “relationship with Jesus Christ”. Rob Ingersoll, who was planning to marry his partner of nine years, was shocked by her reaction as he had been a regular customer for many years.

Ms Stuzman said at the time: ““We hire gay people. I have friends that are gay, that wasn’t the issue. The issue is that I just didn’t want to participate in the marriage.”

Yesterday judge Alex Ekstrom decided that the state can sue Ms Stuzman and her business under the Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said: “We believe Washington law is very clear that businesses in Washington cannot discriminate. If you serve opposite-sex partners, you must serve same-sex partners equally.”

More: Discrimination, florist, Homophobia, same sex marriage, US, Washington

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