A judge in Washington state on Wednesday ruled that a florist who refused to sell flower arrangements for a gay couple's wedding violated state anti-discrimination law, court records show. Florist Barronelle Stutzman was sued by both the state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, in 2013. The pair were longtime customers of Stutzman's Richland business, Arlene's Flowers, and asked her to provide decorations for their wedding following the state's legalization of same-sex marriage. Stutzman maintained that her Christian beliefs prevented her from selling flowers for the same-sex wedding, "because of (her) relationship with Jesus Christ," according to court documents.
Though Stutzman has become a darling of the religious right for asserting her Southern Baptist beliefs about same-sex marriage, her arguments about religious freedom fell flat in court. Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom concluded in his decision that “to accept any [of] the Defendants’ arguments would be to disregard well-settled law.” In fact, the case was rather open-and-shut. On March 1, 2013, “Stutzman refused to provide to Ingersoll a service she provided to others,” Ekstrom wrote. What she believes about same-sex marriage is immaterial, because the law’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation “address conduct, not beliefs.” Agreeing with the plaintiffs and the attorney general, Ekstrom asserted that “no Court has ever held that religiously motivated conduct, expressive or otherwise, trumps state discrimination law in public accommodations.” He also pointed out that Stutzman is not a minister nor is Arlene’s Flowers a religious organization. Likewise, the law does not specifically target her because of her beliefs, but is “neutral and generally applicable” to all people of all beliefs.
So having hateful imaginary friends doesn't get you out from under Washington State's anti-discrimination statutes—and this is about "well-settled law" that bans discrimination in the provision of goods and services, not about marriage.