Owner of Arlene's Flowers loses Supreme Court case - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Owner of Arlene's Flowers loses Supreme Court case

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OLYMPIA, WA - Finally, a decision has been made today in a case we've been following for years. It went all the way to the state Supreme Court, who unanimously decided a Richland florist violated Washington's anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

Barronelle Stutzman had refused to provide the flowers for the wedding of Curt Freed and Rob Ingersoll. It's an interesting case that gained national attention because it can possibly influence other legal cases regarding religious and civil rights around the country.

Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, lost her case this morning.

"It was terrifying when you think that the government is coming in and telling you what what to think and what to do and what to create," said Stutzman. "We should all be very, very scared."

"It is the complete, unequivocal victory for equality in the state of Washington and sends a clear message around the country as well about the importance of equality," said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Those were the immediate reactions from both sides on today's supreme court ruling. It all started in 2013, when Stutzman refused to provide the flowers for a long-time customer's same-sex wedding. She told Robert Ingersoll it's against her religious beliefs.

"I knew Rob was gay for all of those years and it made no difference to me," said Stutzman. "I chose not to participate in one event and that's what this is all about."

The state offered Stutzman a settlement, but she declined, which is why the state Supreme Court made its ruling today.

"Well the fine from the Attorney General went down to $1,000," said Stutzman. "The ACLU attorney fees could be well over a million dollars and my freedom isn't for sale."

Stutzman's attorney argued that no creative artist should have to take on every event and create custom expressions against their convictions.

However, the AG and the couple's attorney say it's illegal in Washington for a business to refuse service based on gender, religion, race or sexuality.

"If this case were about an interracial couple, we wouldn't be here today," said Michael Scott, attorney representing Freed and Ingersoll. "Nobody would question the right of an interracial couple to be served flowers. And that same right applies to our state and many other states to gay couples."

Stutzman's attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom said they plan on appealing this case and taking it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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