On July 2, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex weddingleaving in place a decision that she broke state anti-discrimination laws, media outlets reported.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have agreed to hear the case and review the decision. However, four justices are needed for the court to take a case.
In Washington state, florist Barronelle Stutzman and her Arlene's Flowers business refused to provide flowers for the wedding of Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed, based on religious groundseven though Stutzman had sold Ingersoll flowers for nearly a decade and knew he was gay.
In a press release sent to Windy City Times, Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Law and Policy Director Jennifer C. Pizer said, "In the case at issueArlene's Flowers, Inc. v. Washingtonwe are witness yet again to the unrelenting anti-LGBT crusade being waged by self-described Christian fundamentalist legal groups aiming to chip away at the hard-won gains of LGBT people by creating gaping exemptions with which discrimination swallows civil rights rules.
"The constitutional protections for religious freedom and free speech were never intended as weapons of discrimination for those operating businesses serving the general public. The U.S. Supreme Court here did what the justices should have done three years ago after [the baker case] Masterpiece Cakeshop: Reaffirm important, longstanding precedent and deny the case yet another hearing.
"The Washington Supreme Court correctly decided this case twice, writing that 'to carve out a patchwork of exceptions for ostensibly justified discrimination' would fatally undermine the vital societal purpose of public accommodations laws. But opponents of LGBT civil rights are not giving up. From Oregon, where one anti-gay legal group claims a bakery is entitled to refuse to serve Lambda Legal's clients, a lesbian couple, to Philadelphia, where another anti-gay legal group fought Philadelphia's commitment to nondiscrimination in the City's child welfare programs, the attacks on equality continue. We will remain vigilant against all of these efforts to carve out licenses to discriminate."