Arlene's Flowers Controversy Continues

<p>Barronelle Stutzman</p>

Barronelle Stutzman

New developments today in the case of a richland florist who refused service to a gay couple...     

The non-profit Family Policy Institute is now mobilizing people in support of the owner of Arlene's Flowers - Barronelle Stutzman - who refused service to the couple earlier this year.

Director Joseph Backholm says the group is organizing a meeting tonight for supporters of Arlene's.

They plan to to discuss ways to start a public information campaign and garner support for the 68-year-old Stutzman.

This case has been extremely divisive and garnered national attention.

Stutzman refused to provide flowers back in March for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed's fall wedding.  

Since then state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene's.

Attorneys on behalf of Stutzman then filed a countersuit against the AG.

The gay couple and the ACLU then filed a discrimination lawsuit against Stutzman, which was counter sued again by the Family Policy Institute.

Backholm says this issue is not about refusing service to a gay couple, but refusing to provide the flowers for their wedding, an issue about personal religious beliefs.

"This is an issue of conscience because obviously these are people that she'd served many times over years, and she'd also employed gay people. So this was not someone who had a policy of not serving people who are gay. This was a particular service that she was uncomfortable providing. So it had much more to do with the service that she was being asked to provide, rather than the person who it was for," said Backholm.

Meanwhile, Washington state chapter of the ACLU had a statement as well.

"Any business serving the public in this state may not violate anti-discrimination laws, even if it's on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs."

The meeting will be held at 7pm tonight at the First Assembly Auditorium on North Road 72 in Pasco.