Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, located in Richmond, Washington, has been hit with a consumer protection suit by the State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Barronelle Stutzman, who owns the florist shop, refused to sell flowers for a gay wedding.
Ferguson sent a letter on March 28 to Stutzman asking her reconsider her decision not to sell flowers to the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. Stutzman declined via her attorney, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“As Attorney General, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington. Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation," Ferguson told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. " If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same sex couples the same product or service.”
Stutzman recalled her conversation with Ingersoll in March interview with KEPR-TV (video below).
“He said he decided to get married and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,’” said Stutzman. “We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.”
“It’s a personal conviction. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong. It’s my belief.”
Ferguson filed the lawsuit in Benton Country Superior Court, requesting Stutzman's compliance with the gay wedding and is asking for a permanent injunction forcing Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts to provide services without discrimination.
Stutzman’s attorneys said they are preparing “an immediate challenge in federal court” and are “ready for a fight.”