Friday, January 20, 2012

Religious Discrimination Claimed As Florist Refuses To Deliver To Successful Establishment Clause Plaintiff

A Rhode Island federal district court's Establishment Clause decision handed down last week is spawning new legal controversy.  In Ahlquist v. City of Cranston, the court held that in installing and maintaining a prayer mural in a high school auditorium, the Cranston School Committee violated the Establishment Clause. (See prior posting.) The Freedom from Religion Foundation wanted to congratulate the plaintiff in the case, 16-year old Jessica Ahlquist. However, as an FFRF press release and a turnto10 report indicate, three Cranston florists refused to deliver flowers to Ahlquist. Ultimately FFRF had to use a Connecticut florist.  In a formal complaint (full text) filed yesterday with the Rhode Island Commission on Human Rights, FFRF alleges that one of the florists in Cranston violated Rhode Island's Public Accommodations statute by discriminating on the basis of religion in refusing to fill FFRF's order.  FFRF alleges the discrimination was a result of plaintiff's atheism and FFRF's support of her.