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Homophobic Washington Florist Rejects $2001 Settlement Offer: 'It's About Freedom, Not Money'


On Thursday, we reported that a Washington state judge had ruled against Barronelle Stuzman, the Richland florist who in 2013 refused to provide flowers for a longtime customer's wedding to his same-sex partner because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ."

Stuzman was found to be in violation of the state's anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Following the ruling, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson provided Stuzman with a settlement offer, but Stuzman refused.

Stuzman, it seems, was always planning on taking the anti-gay martyr route.

“Before this case began, my office wrote to Ms. Stutzman, asking her to comply with state law," said Ferguson. "Had she agreed to no longer discriminate, my office would not have filed suit, and Ms. Stutzman would not have paid any costs, fees or penalties."

The Washington Post reports:

On Friday, Stutzman told Ferguson in a letter released through her attorneys that the state’s settlement offer of a $2,000 penalty, a $1 payment for court and legal fees, and an agreement “not to discriminate in the future,” was akin to Judas’s betrayal of Jesus in the Bible. “You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver,” she wrote, adding, “that is something I will not do.”

“Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about,” she added. “It’s about freedom, not money.” 

Stutzman’s attorney said that she’ll be appealing the ruling.

Read Stuzman's full letter AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Homophobic Washington Florist Rejects $2001 Settlement Offer: 'It's About Freedom, Not Money'" »

Judge Rules Homophobic Washington Florist Broke the Law for Discriminating Against Gay Customer


A judge has ruled against Barronelle Stuzman, the Richland florist who in 2013 refused to provide flowers for a longtime customer's wedding to his same-sex partner because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ," the Associated Press reports:

Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom rejected arguments from the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland that her actions were protected by her freedoms of speech and religion. While religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, actions based on those beliefs aren't necessarily protected, he said.

"For over 135 years, the Supreme Court has held that laws may prohibit religiously motivated action, as opposed to belief," Ekstrom wrote. "The Courts have confirmed the power of the Legislative Branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief."

Ekstrom ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two cases against Stuzman - the first being an ACLU case for customer Robert Ingersoll and his husband Curt Freed and a second case from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who claimed Stuzman violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act. 

The Washington Post adds:

The penalty against Stutzman and her business will be settled via summary judgment, or without a full trial. Ingersoll and Freed, who have since married, had sued for $7.91 (the cost of driving to find a new florist). Stutzman also faces a fine of up to $2,000 under Washington’s anti-discrimination law, as well as the cost of legal fees.

Stutzman’s attorney said that she’ll be appealing the order.

“The ruling basically said that if you dare to not celebrate same-sex marriage because it violates your religious convictions, that the government has a right to bring about your personal and professional ruin,” Kristen Waggoner, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Los Angeles Times. “Her home, her business … her life savings and retirement, these are all in jeopardy … all because of her deeply held religious views.”

Judge Rules Homophobic Washington Florist May Be Held Personally Responsible for Discriminating Against Gay Customer


A judge has ruled that the state of Washington has the authority to bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle Stuzman, a Richland florist who is being sued for refusing to provide flowers for a longtime gay customer's 2013 wedding because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ." The judge also ruled Stutzman can be held personally liable for discriminating against the gay customer.

The AP reports:

The judge still has two more motions to rule on in the lawsuit, including whether the facts in the case show the florist violated the Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

The Washington attorney general is asking for a permanent injunction requiring Stutzman and her shop to comply with the consumer protection law.

Stuzman, with the help of the anti-gay Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom, is countersuing the state saying that she's the one being discriminated against and that the state Constitution protects her "faith convictions".

Washington State Supreme Court Hears Arguments Against Anti-gay Florist Barronelle Stutzman


In 2013 Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, turned away gay couple Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll - refusing their business for their upcoming wedding. Stutzman claimed she was exercising her religious liberties in refusing the couple service, but the state of Washington asserted she was in violation of consumer protection laws. Benton County Supreme Court Judge Alex Ekstrom heard two summary motions in the state’s case against Stutzman this past Friday.

“When it comes to running a business you cannot discriminate against someone based on their religion, based on their race, based on their age, or in this case, based on their sexual orientation,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “And unfortunately, that’s what [Stutzman] did here.”

Stutzman is currently awaiting trial for another suit filed on behalf of Freed and Ingersoll by the ACLU. Should Washington win in its suit against her, she could potentially be responsible for a $2,000 fine as well as covering attorney’s fees.

At Least 2 Students Injured in Seattle-Area High School Shooting: VIDEO


A school shooting in Marysville, Washington, just north of Seattle, has reportedly left at least two students injured, with the gunman dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Seattle's KOMO reports:

At least two students were shot. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

Witnesses said the shooting took place in the school cafeteria. 

Several shots were fired. Some witnesses reported hearing anywhere from four to six shots.

Video on the developing story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "At Least 2 Students Injured in Seattle-Area High School Shooting: VIDEO" »

Seattle Gay Bar Arsonist Gets 10 Years In Prison, Blames Alcoholism


Musab Mohammed Masmari — the 30-year-old suspect who plead guilty to the New Year’s Eve arson of Seattle's Neighbours gay nightclub — has been sentenced to ten years in prison, more than double the time requested by the court’s prosecutors and defense.

Though prosecutors alleged that Masmari set the blaze out of anti-gay hatred and intolerance, the Seattle PI says Masmari’s defense ascribed a different reason — alcoholism:

In a letter to the court, Masmari, 31, explained he’d consumed a bottle of cheap whiskey in the hours before he set the fire. He claims not to remember setting it, though he recognized himself on a surveillance video.

“I do not believe that I am a bad man but when I get drunk I have done bad things,” Masmari said in a letter to the court. “I swear that it is my intent to never drink again.”

…“I am sorry for the damage I caused, and I am grateful that no one was hurt,” Masmari said in a letter to the court. “I should have gotten alcohol counseling. … I wish I had.

Masmari will remain in jail until his eventual transfer to a federal prison.


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