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US Supreme Court tosses another gay-wedding ruling, citing Masterpiece case

Author: Melissa Quinn, Washington Examiner - June 25, 2018 - Updated: June 25, 2018

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The Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday tossed out a state court ruling against a Washington state florist who declined to make a floral arrangement for a same-sex couple’s wedding and sent the case back to the lower court in light of its ruling earlier this month in a case involving a Colorado baker.

The court said it was vacating the ruling from the Washington Supreme Court and remanding the case back to the state high court.

The Washington Supreme Court had found florist Barronelle Stutzman violated a state civil rights law when she declined to make a floral arrangement for a longtime customer’s same-sex wedding in 2013 due to her religious objections.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case comes three weeks after it issued a narrow ruling in a similar case involving baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, who declined to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception.

In that decision, the justices focused primarily on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of Phillips and determined the commission was hostile toward his sincerely held religious beliefs in violation of his First Amendment rights.

With its ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the high court left unanswered the key question of whether businesses can decline to provide services to LGBT people due to their religious beliefs.

The key question will continue to remain unanswered for now.

Lawyers for Washington and the gay couple, Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, had urged the court in filings to decline to take up the case.

But Stutzman’s attorneys had said the justices should toss out the ruling from the state supreme court and kick it back to the lower court in light of its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Melissa Quinn, Washington Examiner