Written by Don Byrd

The U.S. Supreme Court today sent a controversial case – Arlene’s Flowers, Inc.. v. Washingtonback to the Washington Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of their recent ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.

Like Masterpiece Cakeshop, Arlene’s Flowers involves a business’ refusal to provide services for a same-sex wedding, despite state law forbidding such discrimination. The business owner claims that requiring her to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding ceremony violates her religious freedom rights. 

Last year, the Washington Supreme Court rejected those religious freedom arguments and concluded that the business owner is not entitled to a religious accommodation from the nondiscrimination law. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Colorado’s enforcement of a similar rule, but the high court emphasized that the State’s Civil Rights Commission failed to consider the request for accommodation with sufficient respect. Such hostility, the court ruled, amounts to impermissible religious discrimination invalidating the commission’s ruling in favor of a same-sex couple seeking a cake for a wedding celebration.

Today’s decision requires the Washington Supreme Court to analyze again the case of Arlene’s Flowers, this time in light of the reasoning from the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.