By James Emery White, Church & Culture.
By now, most have heard of the many and varied court cases related to conscientious objection, usually of a religious nature, to serving gay weddings. They are filling the courts as bakers and florists, bed and breakfast operators and caterers, are being sued for not wanting to engage in activity they deem supporting the wedding itself.
But now we are starting to get the decisions.
A judge ruled that a Washington state florist who refused to provide a flower arrangement for a gay wedding “because of [her] relationship with Jesus” violated the state’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.
Background: the couple asked the florist to provide flowers for their wedding in March 2013, three months after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage. The florist had served the couple at least twenty-times before, and knew they were gay. But when the request came to provide flower arrangements for their wedding, she said that she could not provide the arrangements because doing so would have constituted a demonstration of approval for the wedding itself.
“I just put my hands on his and told him because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I couldn’t do that, couldn’t do his wedding.”
The charge against the florist was discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The State Attorney, who brought one of two lawsuits against the florist (the other came from the ACLU), said “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.”
But the legal team for the florist said she hadn’t denied the couple flowers, just the arrangements. An arrangement, it was argued, was a form of free speech. They were welcome to her flowers. Further, they argued the florist’s faith should exempt her from anti-discrimination laws.