ACLU files lawsuit for gay couple denied service

SEATTLE — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Kennewick gay couple who were denied service at a flower shop.

The ACLU of Washington said the lawsuit against Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, was filed Thursday in Benton County Superior Court.

The lawsuit is in response to a March 1 incident where Stutzman refused service to longtime customer Robert Ingersoll after learning he was getting married to his long-time partner.

Stutzman said serving them is against her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit seeks a court order barring Stutzman from discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation and damages for the violation of the couple’s rights.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is also suing the florist.

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