Over the objections of three conservative justices, the US Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a Washington State flower shop that violated state anti-discrimination law by refusing to serve a same-sex couple on religious grounds. The decision means a California Supreme Court judgment against Arlene’s Flowers and owner Barronelle Stutzman will stand. In 2013, Stutzman refused to arrange wedding flowers for a pair of long-time customers — Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed — saying that doing so would violate her religious beliefs. “After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we cancelled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again. We had a small ceremony at home instead,” said Robert Ingersoll in a statement. “We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did.” With help from the ACLU, the couple sued the shop under Washington’s anti-discrimination law, which says businesses that are open to the general public cannot refuse to serve someone based on sexual orientation, even on the basis of sincere religious beliefs.
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