A Washington state florist who refused to settle for a religious couple who opposes same-sex marriage, is withdrawing her pending application before the US Supreme Court after announcing that she has settled her dispute, according to her attorneys.
The settlement means the judges won’t – for now – get caught up in another thorny religious freedom dispute that pits a business owner from serving a same-sex couple against state law. prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Barronelle Stutzman “has chosen to retire so her beloved employees can run her business, Arlene’s Flowers,” an attorney for the Alliance for the Defense of Freedom said in a statement. “She will withdraw her pending petition in the US Supreme Court and pay only US$5,000 to the two men who sued her.”
Her lawyers say she’s “at peace” with the settlement because she can finally “retire with her conscience intact and she knows the legal effort to protect her artistic freedoms is creative professionals” will continue in other challenges.
The controversy began when Stutzman refused to settle in 2013 her longtime clients Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed for his wedding.
The Washington State Supreme Court held that Stutzman violated a state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It says the law is “neutral” and serves the interests of the states in eliminating discrimination in public accommodations.
“We are pleased that the Washington Supreme Court rulings will be applied to ensure that same-sex couples are protected from discrimination and will be served by businesses like anyone else.” , plaintiffs Ingersoll and Freed said in a statement. “It hurts to be turned away and we are grateful that our long journey has finally come to an end.”
The couple said they will donate US$5,000 to a local advocacy group that provides peer support, education and advocacy for LGBTQ2S+ people, their parents and allies.
The US Supreme Court denied Stutzman’s petition last July to dissent from judges Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, but the florist’s attorneys asked the court. The court reviewed its decision, citing a decision in a separate dispute.
“Barronelle has been embroiled in litigation for nearly nine years and with this Court denying her petition, she now faces crippling financial penalties in the form of Defendant Claims.” request to pay attorneys’ fees,” her attorney told the judges in a brief at the time.
In 2018, the court sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. However, that ruling has been carefully tailored to the current case and is not a nationwide ruling on whether businesses can deny service to same-sex couples based on religious opposition to same-sex marriage.