Apparently, Barronelle Stutzman doesn’t know when to give up. In March of 2013, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, joined the
religious douche bags in the service industry club growing list of service providers who refused to cater to gay clients when long-term customers Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed asked her to do the flowers for their wedding.
Despite having sold them flowers for nine years, she “politely” declined, citing her relationship with Jesus. But evidently Jesus forgot to tell her that her refusal was a violation of Washington’s anti-discrimination laws.
Before filing a suit against her, state attorney general Bob Ferguson gave her the opportunity to reconsider her stance, but she stood her ground, citing artistic freedom. (If you’re scratching your head on that one, her claim was that making floral arrangements “is a creative process [that] takes artistic talent” and that “all artists consider what they do to be an expression.”)
Now, nearly two years later, Stutzman is back in court. On Friday, attorneys for both the state and the couple asked a judge to find her guilty of discrimination without going through with a trial, arguing that all parties agree on the relevant points of the case.
The Tri-City Herald reports that Stutzman now says turned the couple down because she “believed Ingersoll was asking her to provide full wedding support, which would have included tasks such as creating floral arrangements, greeting guests and supporting the wedding party.”
While we’ve never heard of a florist greeting guests at a wedding, Stutzman’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner, argued that what’s crucial here is Stutzman’s belief that that’s what she was expected to do.
Rather than focusing on what Ingersoll said or meant when he made the request, Waggoner said, what’s important is “what Barronelle understood and what motivated her to act. There’s no way that what motivated her to act was the fact that he was gay, because she’d lovingly served him — and even talked [with him] about his relationship with Mr. Freed — for nine years. … They had a warm and friendly relationship,” Waggoner told the judge.
Perhaps Stutzman was following that secret 11th commandment, “Thou shalt sell flowers to gay folks except when it’s for a wedding.”
The judge made no decision on Friday.