An eight-year legal battle over a floral shop in Richland, Wash., whose owner insisted she had the right to refuse services to LGBTQ residents, was settled recently.
Under the terms of the settlement, Barronnelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, will pay $5,000 to Robert Ingersoll. Ingersoll, a patron of the shop, sued after Stutzman refused to provide flowers for his same-sex marriage to Curt Freed. Stutzman said doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
State officials said Stutzman violated a Washington law that bans discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nationalist legal group, said it agreed to the settlement to save Stutzman, who has announced plans to retire, from being hit with large legal fees.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented Ingersoll and Freed in court. In a statement issued by the ACLU, the two said, “We took on this case because we were worried about the harm being turned away would cause LGBTQ people. We are glad the Washington Supreme Court rulings will stay in place to ensure that same-sex couples are protected from discrimination and should be served by businesses like anyone else. … It was painful to be turned away and we are thankful that this long journey for us is finally over.” (Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll and Freed)