Category Archives: Fighting the State Human Rights Commission for…Our Human Rights

Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights

This is a follow-up to my article published in Watchdog Arena on April 29, 2015.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legal action against 70-year-old Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman could have far-reaching consequences for many small business owners and entrepreneurs—consequences that haven’t entered into the discussion yet.

Barronelle in her flower shop
Barronelle in her flower shop

Last month, a Benton County judge ruled in favor of Ferguson in his lawsuit against Stutzman, who refused to create floral arrangements for the same sex wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed because of her Christian beliefs.

Based on the judge’s ruling, Stutzman stands to lose her family’s home, her life savings, her possessions, and her lifelong business, which had first belonged to her mother.

She’s not backing down.

Ferguson said that Stutzman’s refusal to create floral arrangements for a gay wedding violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which states, “Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.”

Ferguson also referenced Washington’s Civil Rights Act, which has been amended to include discrimination against sexual orientation, among many other things.

The Civil Rights Act says that discrimination includes, but is not limited to: denial of employment, discrimination in real estate transactions, credit, insurance, or HMO services, and denial of the right to use public accommodations and amusements.

The law says nothing about flowers.

The Civil Rights Act also forbids discriminatory blacklists and boycotts.

But that doesn’t stop Ferguson and the ACLU from turning a blind eye to ongoing public boycotts of Arlene’s Flowers. Continue reading Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights


State Supreme Court Will Hear Barronelle Stutzman

Barronelle is heading to Olympia.

The Washington Supreme Court agreed Wednesday March 2 to hear the case of floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland.arlene's snip 2

Barronelle gained national attention when she asked a longtime customer and friend, Robert Ingersoll, to seek another floral artist to provide services for his same sex wedding to Curt Freed.  Barronelle cited her faith as her reason for not providing the service. Continue reading State Supreme Court Will Hear Barronelle Stutzman