Justices decline to rule on florist who refused wedding services to same-sex couple

By Robert Barnes

The Supreme Court signaled Monday that it is unwilling to immediately answer whether a business owner’s religious beliefs can justify refusing gay couples seeking wedding services.

The justices returned to lower courts the case of a Washington state florist who refused to provide a floral arrangement for a longtime customer when he told her it was for his wedding to another man. A unanimous Washington Supreme Court found that the florist, Barronelle Stutzman, violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, a state civil rights law.

The U.S. Supreme Court said the case should be reconsidered in light of its decision earlier this month in favor of Colorado baker Jack C. Phillips, who declined to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.

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