I thought Florist-gate ended a year ago. I was wrong.
The backstory: After Jessica Ahlquist won her legal battle to take down a religious banner from the wall of her public high school, the Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to send her flowers as a congratulatory gift. No florist in the Cranston, Rhode Island area would deliver them to her.
Including Twins Florist:
Had the shop owners just refused to deliver the flowers, there may not be a case, but in the aftermath of the Ahlquist refusal, owner Marina Plowman told a news reporter (PDF):
“It’s my freedom of speech I refuse orders when I want and I take orders when I want… I just chose not to do it. Nothing personal, it was a choice I made. It was my right, so I did that. I’m an independent owner and I can choose whoever I want, whenever I want.”
Initially, FFRF was willing to pursue mediation with the other side, overseen by the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. In fact, one of the other florists who refused to deliver flowers to Jessica chose this route.
But Twin Florists didn’t do that. Instead, they took the issue to a higher court and FFRF is pushing back. They’re suing Plowman for denying them “full and equal access to public accommodations by refusing to fulfill a flower order on the basis of religion” and hoping for a jury trial.
Can’t wait to see how Twins Florist tries to get out of this one…