The question of whether or not a baker, photographer, florist, etc. have to provide their services to a customer, even if the owner has a religious objection to the event taking place is an important one. Many have pushed for legislation to “religious freedom,” which they oftentimes argue is violated by requiring businesses to provide services.
A number of these cases have received much media coverage across the nation, as government officials and the courts are forced to decide what is considered equal protection under the law which is promised from the Fourteenth Amendment, while also balancing religious freedom which is guaranteed in the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court for the state of Washington, recently decided that in this specific case, the religious freedom of a florist, did not trump the rights of the same sex couple who was looking to marry. The shop owner, Barronelle Stutzman, stated that because of her religious beliefs, she would not be able to provide flower arrangements for the marriage between Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed.
The couple had been customers for nearly a decade, when they were denied service for their wedding. However, Stutzman claimed that she provided a list of other potential vendors, who would be willing to provide the services for the event. In fact, when the wedding was held, the flowers were in fact provided by another florist.
The state Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment was not applicable in this instance, as it was largely related back to a recent case involving a New Mexico photography who refused to photograph a same sex wedding. In that case, it was ruled that although photography is an expressive activity which warrants protection under the First Amendment, operating a photography business does not warrant this same protection.
What do you think? Should the florist be required to provide flowers for this wedding? Should Congress or state legislatures pass greater protections for “religious freedom?” Let HYPELINE News know what you think in the comments!
Also be sure to read the full case here.