Benton County Judge Rules Arlene’s Flowers Owner to Pay $1,001
On the heels of his ruling in the Consumer Protection Case of the Washington State Attorney General vs. Baronelle Stutzman and her business Arlene's Flowers, Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ordered a total of $1,001 in fees to be paid.
The Washington State Attorney General's office had filed suit against Stutzman and Arlene's for declining to provide floral services to a same-sex couple, citing her religious rights and freedoms. AG Bob Ferguson sued, and Judge Ekstrom found her to have broken the consumer protection law.
It's interesting to note that in the 8 years since sexual orientation was added to the Consumer Protection Law, there had not been a single such discrimination case brought before the state, but since Ferguson took over that's changing.
Stutzman sent a polite but sharply-worded letter to Ferguson saying his actions showed he didn't have any clue as to what this case was really about - standing up for one's faith and principles despite the consequences. She refused to admit guilt, and Ekstrom ruled against her.
But it's laudable that Ferguson did not go "for the jugular," as some attorneys in other state have in similar cases. Kudos to him for showing restraint in the penalty fee realm of this case.
Friday in Benton County Superior Court, he ordered her to pay $1 in court costs and a $1,000 fine. However, weeks ago her attorneys indicated they had planned to appeal, so this case is not over by any stretch of the imagination.