Posted April 10, 2013 in US News
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday a lawsuit against an eastern Washington florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage ceremony. Some conservative and libertarian supporters of same-sex marriage say it’s a bad move.
According to a press release from Ferguson’s office, Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act in March when she informed a longtime client she would not provide flowers for his ceremony.
“As Attorney General, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington,” Ferguson said in a released statement. “Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation. If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service.”
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Ferguson is seeking a permanent injunction requiring the shop to serve customers without regard to sexual orientation and a $2,000 fine for each violation of the law, according to the release.
Michael Pickens, executive director of the Libertarian Party of Washington State, told U.S. News that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage, but opposes Ferguson’s lawsuit.
“As a private business the florist should be able to chose who they sell their services to,” said Pickens, who described his gay uncles as “two of the most awesome people I know.”
The state government “shouldn’t be forcing businesses to sell products to someone,” Pickens said.
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