ACLU Seeks Remedies for Gay Couple Discriminated Against - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

ACLU Seeks Remedies for Gay Couple Discriminated Against by Richland Florist

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- The ACLU of Washington is seeking remedies from a Richland florist for discriminating against a gay couple.

In a letter to the owner of Arlene's Flowers Wednesday, the ACLU said that the business' refusal to sell flowers to the couple violates the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll have been a couple for almost nine years and are planning a fall wedding. Last month, Ingersoll approached Arlene's Flowers store owner Barronelle Stutzman to arrange flowers for the wedding. However, Stutzman told Ingersoll that her business would not provide the wedding flowers because of her opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation, bars businesses from refusing to sell goods, merchandise, and services to any person because of their sexual orientation.

The courts have found that businesses open to the general public may not violate anti-discrimination laws, even on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.

The couple is seeking the following remedies from Arlene's Flowers:

  • That Arlene's Flowers agree not to refuse to provide flowers and other goods and services to any person on the basis of his or her sexual orientation.
  • That Arlene's Flowers agree to write a letter of apology to Mr. Freed and Mr. Ingersoll to be published in the Tri-City Herald.
  • That Arlene's Flowers agree to donate $5,000 to the Vista Youth Center in Kennewick, in lieu of payment of attorney's fees.