Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Florist Sued For Discrimination After Refusing To Deliver Flowers To Winning Establishment Clause Plaintiff

Following up on a right-to-sue letter it obtained from the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (see prior related posting), the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a state court lawsuit against a florist who refused to deliver flowers ordered by FFRF for a successful plaintiff in an Establishment Clause case.  The complaint (full text) in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Plowman, (RI Super. Ct., filed 1/25/2013), grows out of FFRF's sending of congratulatory flowers to 16-year old Jessica Ahlquist who successfully challenged a prayer mural that hung in the auditorium of Cranston West High School. (See prior posting.) The florist refused to deliver the order, and defended the decision publicly as the right to free speech, saying that an independent owner can choose his customers. The complaint alleges that the refusal violates RI Gen. Stat. Chap. 11-24, Rhode Island's ban on denial of equal access to public accommodations based on religion, or, in this case, based on non-belief. FFRF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.

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