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Huckleberries Online

Wed., April 10, 2013, 10:50 a.m.

Florist sued for refusing service

The Washington attorney general’s office is suing the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland for refusing to provide wedding flowers for a same-sex marriage.

State justice officials filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the business and owner Barronelle Stutzman on Tuesday, asking the court to force Stutzman to comply with anti-discrimination laws and pay $2,000 for each violation.

“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,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a news release.

Stutzman was not immediately available for comment Tuesday. The attorney general’s release said her lawyers have indicated she will challenge the action.

Stutzman refused to provide service to Robert Ingersoll, a customer of nine years, in early March when he came in to order flowers for his wedding with his partner, Curt Freed. She told Ingersoll she couldn’t provide the flowers because of her religious beliefs.

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.