Florist Gets Small Penalty for Violating Anti-Discrimination Laws

Florist Gets Small Penalty for Violating Anti-Discrimination Laws March 30, 2015

To hear the Christian right tell it, the Gaystapo is trying to destroy anyone who owns a business and refuses to follow the law and provide their services to gay people. They’re going to bankrupt them and probably thrown them in a FEMA concentration camp too. In reality, they pay a small fine, like this prominent case in Washington:

A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled today that a Richland florist will pay a $1,000 penalty and $1 in costs and fees to the state for discriminating against a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers in 2013.

The ruling also permanently enjoins Arlene’s Flowers and its owner, Barronelle Stutzman, from violating the Consumer Protection Act by discriminating against any person because of his or her sexual orientation. This includes the requirement that all goods, merchandise and services Arlene’s Flowers and Stutzman offers or sells to opposite sex couples must be offered or sold on the same terms to same-sex couples.

“My primary goal has always been to end illegal discrimination,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “I’m pleased that today’s ruling clearly prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples. Our state laws protect the rights of Washingtonians to be treated equally — regardless of our race, sex, creed, sexual orientation or other characteristics — and I will continue to vigorously uphold these laws.”

The Attorney General’s Office asked the court for the penalty under the state Consumer Protection Act and $1 for costs and fees.

She can continue to do business, she just can’t discriminate. She can even decide not to provide flowers for any wedding so she doesn’t have to do so for a same-sex wedding (weddings are a tiny percentage of her business, so it wouldn’t be a big loss). And Stutzman will more than make that up by hitting the Christian rubber chicken circuit to tell her harrowing tale of persecution. I suggest taking a big cross with her on the road and climb right up on there.

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