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Washington, USA: GOP Pushes Bill To Allow Businesses to Discriminate Against Gays and Lesbians

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Washington State Sen. Sharon BrownIn the wake of a lawsuit against a Washington state florist refused to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, the state GOP is pushing for a law to allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Think Progress reports:

Republicans in Washington state have proposed a bill that would allow businesses to openly discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation if they want to do so because of their religious beliefs. SB 5927 carves out a specific exception to the state’s nondiscrimination law that says only federal protections — which don’t include sexual orientation — apply when a person’s religious belief is “burdened”: Nothing in this section may burden a person or religious organization’s freedom of religion including, but not limited to, the right of an individual or entity to deny services if providing those goods or services would be contrary to the individual’s or entity owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience.

The discriminatory bill is being sponsored by State Sen. Sharon Brown, whose district includes the flower shop being sued for discrimination.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

Washington, USA: Gay Couple Sues Florist Who Refused to Provide Wedding Flowers

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

WashingtonOn the heels of a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General, a gay couple is also suing Arlene’s Flowers after the florist turned them away because they are gay. Edge Boston reports:

The lawsuit is in response to a March 1 incident in which Barronelle Stutzman refused to provide flowers for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed’s wedding, despite the two men being longtime patrons of her shop – Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, about 200 miles southeast of Seattle… “The refusal to sell flowers to the couple is a disturbing reminder of the unequal treatment that gay men and women have experienced over the years,” said ACLU of Washington legal director Sarah Dunne in a statement. “When a business serves the general public, the business owner’s religious beliefs may not be used to justify discrimination.”

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

Washington, USA: Florist Who Refused Service to Gay Couple Faces Possible Second Lawsuit

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

WashingtonYesterday, we reported on Arlene’s Flowers in Washington State – the State’s Attorney General had filed a lawsuit against the florist after she refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding. Now the couple themselves have also threatened to sue. Joe.My.God reports:

After five weeks of biting their tongues, a gay couple in Richland, Washington, is making a loaded offer to a florist who refused to sell them flowers based her biblical belief that “marriage is between a man and a woman.” Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed’s lawyers, working with the legal powerhouse at the ACLU of Washington, sent a letter today to Arlene’s Flowers owner Baronelle Stutzman saying she has two options: (1) She can vow to never again discriminate in her services for gay people, write an apology letter to be published in the Tri-City Herald, and contribute $5,000 to a local LGBT youth center, or (2) she can get sued for violating the Washington State Civil Rights Act.

Predictably the right is up-in-arms over the suits.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.