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Arlene's Flowers et al v. Washington et al

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Dismissed)
Last Update: November 22, 2021

What's at Stake

After the Washington Supreme Court found that the refusal of Arlene’s Flowers to sell flowers to a gay couple violated Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Consumer Protection Act, the flower shop sought review by the Supreme Court of the United States. The US Supreme Court subsequently remanded to the WA Supreme Court and on June 6, 2019, the WA Supreme Court affirmed their earlier decision. On September 11, 2019, Arlene’s Flowers filed to hear the case again, at the Supreme Court of the United States.

Curt Freed, a faculty member at Columbia Basin College, and Robert Ingersoll, a manager at Goodwill, have been a couple for almost nine years. They are engaged and are planning a wedding for September 2013. Having purchased goods from Arlene’s Flowers on many occasions, Ingersoll approached the florist on March 1 to arrange for flowers for the event. However, he was told that the business would not sell the couple flowers because of the owner’s religious beliefs.

The Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation. It 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.

Filed in Benton County Superior Court, the lawsuit is seeking a court order barring the florist from discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation and damages for the violation of the couple’s rights.

Update: The United States Supreme Court denied Arlene’s Flowers’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari on July 2, 2021.

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