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American Atheists Statement on Supreme Court’s Order in Arlene’s Flowers Case

Washington, DC—In an order today, the United States Supreme Court vacated lower court rulings in the case of a florist in the state of Washington who was ordered to comply with Washington’s non-discrimination law and to provide the same services to same-sex couples that she provides to heterosexual couples. The Supreme Court’s order directed the lower courts to re-examine the florist’s case, in light of the Court’s June 4, 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling.

Legal and Policy Director Alison Gill released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s order:

Just as we predicted when the Court issued its Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, Christian supremacist groups like Alliance Defending Freedom—which is bankrolling this lawsuit—are claiming that government officials demonstrate ‘anti-religious hostility’ when they merely acknowledge that the arguments being used today to excuse anti-LGBTQ discrimination are the same arguments that were used to excuse invidious discrimination in the past.

Religion has historically been used to justify segregation, slavery, and misogyny, and was repeatedly used in the 1960s to challenge civil rights laws. These facts are not up for debate. The florist’s discriminatory practices ‘demean’ her faith far more than anything the Washington Attorney General has said or done.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s abdication of responsibility in its Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, we remain confident that the Washington State courts will reaffirm their original ruling that no business has the right to discriminate. As the couple said in their brief: ‘This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.’