Justices won't hear case of anti-gay marriage florist

Jun 28, 2018, 00:52
Justices won't hear case of anti-gay marriage florist

Stutzman, a Washington state florist, was offered multiple opportunities to settle her case by state and local prosecutors but repeatedly refused. Although the florist's lawyers assert that there was hostility to her religious beliefs from the fact that the state enforced its nondiscrimination law, there is no evidence of hostility towards religious beliefs in the case. "The Washington attorney general's efforts to punish her because he dislikes her beliefs about marriage are as impermissible as Colorado's attempt to punish Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop". The Supreme Court on Monday, June 25, 2018, ordered Washington courts to take a new look at Stutzman's case because of her religious objection to same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court put on hold the lower court's order that a new map be drawn, leaving the Republican-drawn districts in place for congressional elections in November, giving a boost to Republicans in their bid to maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. "The two sued Stutzman after she declined, because of her faith, to design custom floral arrangements celebrating the same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for almost ten years".

The case was set to finally decide whether state anti-discrimination laws violate the Constitutional right to free speech - the store's owner claimed that creating the arrangement would force her to endorse something she has religious convictions against.

In a fiery dissent, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the ruling "means that, after years of litigation and undeniable proof of intentional discrimination, minority voters in Texas - despite constituting a majority of the population within the state - will continue to be under-represented in the political process".

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There was no apparent reason to send the case back instead of just denying review, which would have allowed the state supreme court's decision to stand.

On the surface, the North Carolina case doesn't appear to have the same problem the high court identified in the Wisconsin lawsuit.

Associate law professor Jim Oleske at Lewis and Clark Law School talked to Colorado Matters about the impact of Masterpiece on the Arlene's Flowers case, and where it goes from here.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the high court said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown hostility toward the baker's religious beliefs in ruling that he had violated the state's anti-discrimination laws when he refused to make the cake. "This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches", the court said, quoting from the plaintiffs' brief.

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A bitterly divided Supreme Court handed down its decision in a redistricting case today.

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee echoed a similar sentiment in a press release of his own. Stutzman said that providing the service would be a violation of her faith.

Some of the nation's most controversially drawn legislative districts will remain as they are through the midterm elections - and potentially into the 2020 races - after the U.S. Supreme Court slapped down racial gerrymandering challenges to three Texas districts and punted on a partisan gerrymandering case for the third time this month.

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