- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Lawyers for Washington state and a same-sex couple have told a Benton County Superior Court judge that businesses in the state can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The case involves a Richland, Washington, flower shop.

Barronelle Stutzman and her shop, Arlene’s Flowers, are being sued for refusing to sell flowers for a 2013 same-sex wedding.

The Tri-City Herald reports (https://is.gd/DmNKsQ ) that attorneys for the state and the couple asked Judge Alex Ekstrom on Friday to rule in their favor without need for a trial, saying relevant facts aren’t in dispute.

The state says Arlene’s Flowers refused to provide flowers and services to Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed.

Stutzman’s lawyers say she declined not because of the couple’s sexual orientation, but because of her religious views on marriage. They say she has a right to free speech and exercise of religion. Stutzman’s lawyers brought their own motion for a summary judgment.

The judge made no decision after the three-hour hearing.

Trial is set for next year.


Information from: Tri-City Herald, https://www.tri-cityherald.com

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