U.S. Supreme Court sends Arlene's Flowers case back to state
RICHLAND, Wash. —
It's a case that's had five years of litigation after a Richland florist refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court added another chapter to the Arlene's Flowers saga when they ordered the Washington State Supreme Court to review the case again.
Their decisions comes after their recent ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
It's a decision Arlene's Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman is thrilled about: "I'm very thankful and grateful that the court has allowed my case to continue. You know, if the state of Washington had its way, I'm at risk of losing everything. Not just the flower shop that is my livelihood, but my home and everything we own."
The saga began in 2013 when Stutzman refused to provide flowers for a wedding for same-sex couple Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed based on her beliefs that marriage is between a man and woman.
Freed says they were shocked by her refusal, but it "quickly becomes a grave concern about other people who are likely to experience that same reaction."
Last year the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Stutzman.
In a statement released Monday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says they expected the move.
"The Washington State Supreme Court now has the job of determining whether the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affects this case. I am confident they will come to the same conclusion they did in their previous, unanimous ruling upholding the civil rights of same-sex couples in our state."
Action News asked Kristen Waggoner with Alliance Defending Freedom and is representing Stutzman about the possibility of getting the same result from the state.
"The Washington Supreme Court is not the final authority. The United States Supreme Court is and they've given clear direction to the Washington Supreme Court and the court needs to follow that direction and, again, if it declines to do so, we will take case back up to the U.S Supreme Court,” she says.
Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) also released a statement, saying they’re not surprised about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, nor has it given them any cause for concern.