Washington State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Couple Denied Service by Floral Business

by Stephen Peters

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, hailed a decision by the Washington State Supreme Court upholding state law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people by businesses providing services to the public.

In the case of Ingersoll v Arlene's Flowers filed by the ACLU on behalf of Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, the court found that Arlene’s Flowers clearly violated the state’s non-discrimination law when refusing to provide floral arrangements to a gay couple because of the owner’s personal religious beliefs.

“Freedom of religion is fundamental to American society, that’s why it is firmly protected by the U.S. Constitution. People should also never use their personal religious beliefs as a free pass to violate the law or the basic civil rights of others,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Businesses who are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms. We congratulate the ACLU on their important victory in this case upholding fairness and equality under the law.”

Washington is one of 19 states that provide protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.  Nobody should be turned away from a business open to the public just because of who they are.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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