As it turns out, a small business owner does not have the right to refuse anyone service.
The Washington Supreme Court was asked by the Supreme Court of the United States to revisit its previous decision. The WA court abided by the initial decision that a local flower shop owner discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to supply flowers for their wedding.
Barronelle Stutzmen is the owner of Arlene’s Flowers. A gay couple took her to court over the fact she refused to sell them flowers for their wedding.
Stutzmen maintains she does not discriminate against anyone. The reason she refused to sell this couple any flowers was because of her religious beliefs.
For that reason, SCOTUS asked the Washington Supreme Court to revisit its decision based on the possibility of deciding the case with religious animus.
In its decision, the Washington Supreme Court stated it “did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist and her corporation violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination…”
“By declining to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple, and they did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution.”
Stutzmen’s attorney has already stated the business owner will be taking the case to the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court takes on the case, there is already precedent favoring Stutzem. In 2018, the court ruled in favor of a baker that was facing similar accusations.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court ruled there was clear hostility from the lower courts regarding the cake shop owner’s religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court actually has a similar case on its docket now involving a baker in Oregon and a lesbian couple. While it is clear we need to end discrimination, we also need to respect the rights of business owners.
If serving someone violated their rights, especially when it comes to religious convictions, where do we draw that line? Thankfully, that decision lies on the hands of our Supreme Court justices.