US: Judge strikes down pretrial motions in case of florist which refused service to same-sex wedding

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A judge in the US county of Benton struck down motions filed on both sides of a discrimination case brought against a florist who refused to provide services to a same-sex wedding.

The Tri City Herald reports that Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, was in Superior Court for the continuation of a June hearing.

The US state of Washington’s attorney general in April filed a lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers, which refused to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding, despite having served them on previous occasions.

Robert Ingersoll, the customer in question, said he had been shopping at Arlene’s for nine years before being turned down by Stutzman because of her religious beliefs. The case argues that she therefore violated the Consumer Protection Act.

The hearing on Wednesday dealt only with the case against the florist, and not a separate lawsuit filed by Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed.

Judge Sal Mendoza Jr denied a state request to strike affirmative defences, which deal with whether or not the state has standing or jurisdiction to bring the case, because it was filed late.

The case has not yet been given a date for trial