Pre-Trial Motions in Arlene's Flowers Case
Pre-trial motions continue today in the ongoing controversy surrounding a Richland flower shop owner who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding.
Today Judge Sal Mendoza decided the case against the owner of Arlene's Flowers, Barronelle Stutzman, will move forward, despite repeated attempts by the defense to throw out the case.
Stutzman is accused of ignoring the Consumer Protection Act and for discriminating against a gay couple.
The defense had numerous reasons why the trial should not go forward, while the state had filed a motion to strike down those reasons.
The judge has denied the state's motion stating the motion was filed too late.
The defense also wanted to have the case thrown out on the basis the attorney general's office doesn't have the authority to even file a suit.
Senior counsel for the state Todd Bowers said the defense's arguments are simply not viable as a matter of law. "I asked the court to dismiss the defenses related to the atorney general's authority to bring this case. The attorney general absolutely has the authority to bring this action. This is very clear."
And the judge agreed. He granted that motion today.
And if you remember from our previous coverage of this story... there are two cases ongoing; the State vs Arlene's and the ACLU vs Arlene's.
ACLU attorney, Michael Scott, said "this is a clear case of discrimination against a gay couple by a business providing services to the public in Washington state - and that's breaking the law.
Meanwhile Stutzman's lawyers say their case is not about discrimination, but about religious freedoms protected by the Constitution's First Amendment.
The trials are not expected to begin until next year.