High Court Takes A Pass On Tri-Cities Florist Case
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's back to court they go. The Patriot Post reports that on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a unanimous Washington State Supreme Court ruling that a florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws by refusing on religious grounds to provide a floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding.
The Patriot Post -- "In Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, shop owner Barronelle Stutzman was sued by the state of Washington and two homosexual men who solicited her services. One of the men was a longtime customer of Stutzman. When he asked her to create a floral arrangement for his wedding to his male partner, she respectfully refused. Stuztman said that creating the floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding violated her freedom of expression and ran counter to her religious beliefs. She offered to sell the customer a pre-arranged setting or loose flowers. She even gave him the names of other florists who could provide the services he sought."
Now the Patriot Post has a point of view and there is no mistaking how author Lewis Morris feels about the case. He goes on to write, " But that wasn’t good enough. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sought to make an example of Stutzman, dragging her through an expensive legal battle that could shut down her business. Ferguson was true to form of the typical leftist crusader. He was not content to live and let live; he wanted to force Stutzman to comply, accept and even celebrate something that ran counter to her beliefs."
Ok, that's the backstory and while it's very similar to what happened to Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who was persecuted for his religious views in refusing to create a special cake for a same-sex wedding, there are differences.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in the cake case that the state of Colorado had been particularly hostile to Phillips’s religious views. The court's ruling was about filtering out that hostility, NOT about establishing a business' right to refuse service on a religious freedom basis.
So what happens next? Ferguson takes it back to the Washington State Supreme Court and since the right to refuse service wasn't established, the flower shop could lose again.
What the Supreme Court DID establish is the requirement that states have to apply antidiscrimination laws in a universally neutral fashion.
The Patriot Post article concludes, "... don’t try to use those laws to wedge the public into accepting viewpoints that violate their religious or moral values. It’s one thing to allow same-sex marriage; it’s another entirely to force people who object to provide specific artistic services in celebration of it."
Before you place your bet on which way it will go once it is back in state, remember this. We are still Liberal Washington, we set the national bar for gay marriage, it was our human rights commission that put Bob -who today feels like Barbara- into your daughter's bathroom. How do you really think it's going to go? In other words...
Hey Supreme Court, we'll be seeing you!