Christian florist faces second lawsuit over gay marriage

A Christian florist in America who received an arson threat after she declined to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding is being sued for a second time.

Barronelle Stutzman is now facing legal action from the couple, in addition to an earlier lawsuit filed by Washington State’s Attorney General.

In March, Mrs Stutzman said she could not provide flowers for the wedding of long-standing customer Robert Ingersoll because she opposed gay marriage.

Abuse

But after Mr Ingersoll wrote about this online, Mrs Stutzman received a torrent of abuse, including a threat to burn down her shop “Arlene’s Flowers” and hate mail.

She had taken Mr Ingersoll, who she has known for nine years, by the hand and said: “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Mrs Stutzman’s lawyer, Justin Bristol, said forcing his client to provide flowers for a gay wedding goes against fundamental rights to freedom of speech and religious exercise.

Convictions

He said: “She is one of the few people left today willing to stand by her convictions rather than compromise her beliefs.”

The couple is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who are seeking damages saying religion can’t be used as a reason to discriminate.

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a complaint under consumer protection law and is seeking fines against the business.

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