Arlene's Flowers owner speaks out after Supreme Court hearing


    Hundreds crowd the Bellevue College theater Tuesday morning as the Washington Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Arlene's Flowers case.

    RICHLAND, Wash. -- It's a fight over wedding flowers that's turned into a Washington Supreme Court battle. Oral arguments are over and now we wait for an answer of whose right: The couple denied service or the flower shop owner refusing to participate in a ceremony her religion doesn't recognize.

    Just a day after the judges heard her case, Arlene's Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman invited Action News into her shop for a one on one interview.

    “It’s not just my freedom,” said Stutzman, adding “People don't understand it could happen to me today but it could happen to you tomorrow.”

    RELATED: COURT: Arlene's Flowers broke the law

    It all started in a Richland Flower shop.

    “When he came in to ask about his wedding I just gently put my hands on his and said I'm sorry Rob I can't do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Crist,” said Stutzman.

    A conversation now being evaluated by the supreme court: is it a case of discrimination or freedom of expression?

    “We can't go back to the 1960s and lunch counters the law is clear you simply cannot discriminate if you have a business,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

    “To compare this the horrific subjugation that this country put African Americans through for hundreds of years is not only a vile comparison, I think it's intellectually dishonest,” said Kerri Kupec, one of Stutzman's lawyers, adding “I think everybody's who is concerned about freedom should be very concerned.”

    Stutzman feels she never discriminated rob by referring him to another florist three and a half years ago.

    RELATED: Arlene's Flowers owner speaks out in rare appearance Tuesday night

    “We hugged each other and Rob left so to me that doesn't sound like I hurt him and if I did I had no intentions of doing that,” she said, adding “And dignity and hurt goes both ways.

    Stutzman says it's her first amendment right to refuse to create a custom flower arrangement for a same sex wedding.

    Reporter: "If this was one of your pre-made arrangements would you have sold him that for the wedding?"

    "Absolutely, he could have anything in the cooler. He could have the flowers on the wall, anything at all," said Stutzman.

    Reporter: "Then what did it come down to?"

    "It comes down my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and rob has every right to believe the way he believes and I am just asking for the same," said Stutzman.

    However, the Attorney General and a Benton County judge ruled that Stutzman can’t use religious freedoms to ignore the rights of the customers.

    Reporter: "If someone were to deny you service for who you like how would you feel about that?"

    "I don't think that's an issue here. I served Rob for over ten years and I’d serve him for ten more if he came back," said Stutzman.

    Stutzman tells us it’s not about Rob being gay, she just won't go against the religion she lives for. She stands by her values, regardless of the cost.

    “We could lose our home, our retirement, our life savings and our business simply because we have a different view point on marriage than Rob,” said Stutzman, adding “Rob certainly has every right to freedom to believe what he believes and I am just asking for the same.”


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