- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lawyers for a Washington state florist have asked the state’s highest court to review a ruling that found her guilty of discrimination — and facing financial ruin — for not agreeing to make a floral arrangement for a gay customer’s wedding.

“Americans oppose unjust laws that strong-arm citizens to create expression against their will,” said Kristen Waggoner, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who filed the request for review Monday at the Supreme Court for the State of Washington on behalf of Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington.

The brief asks the high court to review the case with regard to religious liberty and determine whether Ms. Stutzman can be coerced by the state to associate with unwanted views in violation of her faith.

Ms. Stutzman was sued by the state attorney general for violating consumer protection and anti-discrimination laws after it learned she told longtime gay customer Robert Ingersoll that she couldn’t “do” his upcoming wedding to Curt Freed.

The gay couple, represented by attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, later joined the state in suing Ms. Stutzman.

A Superior Court judge ruled that the 70-year-old florist violated state laws, assessed a modest fine and told her to make floral arrangements for opposite-sex and same-sex weddings. The ruling also left her liable for personal damages from the gay couple, even though that could potentially bankrupt her.

Barronelle and numerous others like her around the country have been more than willing to serve any and all customers, but they are understandably not willing to promote any and all messages,” said Ms. Waggoner, adding that no one should have to choose between their own freedoms of speech and conscience and “personal and professional ruin.”

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