The US Supreme Court on Friday declined to take up an appeal from a Washington state florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same-sex couple out of religious concerns regarding same-sex marriage.
The Washington state Supreme Court in June had ruled against the florist, Barronelle Stutzman, who refused in 2013 to make a floral arrangement for long-time client Robert Ingersoll’s same-sex wedding.
The court’s move comes after a unanimous court ruled in favor of a Catholic Foster Care agency that declined to work with same-sex couples as potential parents.
“The Court’s decision to leave the lower-court ruling intact sends a couple of different messages,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “On one hand, the Court is refusing to go any further than it went in the Catholic Social Services decision from last week, and is thereby siding with the State of Washington’s enforcement of its antidiscrimination laws over religious objections.”
“On the other hand, it’s going to remain more than a little unclear when states can and cannot require secular businesses to provide services to those whose practices offend the owners’ religious beliefs. The Court isn’t willing to take that up now, but it’s surely going to have to sooner rather than later,” Vladeck added.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch indicated that they would have taken up the dispute for next term.