Washington Supreme Court reaffirms its finding of sexual orientation discrimination by florist

On remand in light of the Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colo. Civil Rights Comm'n,  the Washington Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed its ruling in State v. Arelene's Flowers, 389 P.3d 543 (Wash 2017), as modified by 2017 Wash. LEXIS 222 (Wash. 2017). Lambda Legal, A key victory reaffirming LGTBT rights in flower shop discrimination case, June 6, 2019. See also CNN Politics, Washington state Supreme Court ruling in Arlene's Flowers case,  June 6, 2019.

In its opinion in State of Washington v. Arelene's Flowers, Inc., (Wash. 2019), the Washington Supreme Court found that the case was tainted by none of the antireligious views the Supreme Court had found in Masterpiece Cakeshop and that the opinion in that case had affirmed that states can prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations and that owners of such establishments cannot evade them by citing religious convictions. The court also reaffirmed its initial ruling that the refusal to provide flowers for a wedding of a same-sex couple was discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It also noted that the statute provided an exemption for religious organizations but that exemption did not extend to businesses open to the public and operating for profit. The court also found no violation of the store owner's constitutional rights to free speech because the sale of flowers was conduct rather than speech and legislatures are free to regulate discriminatory conduct in the marketplace.