An end-of-the-term order from the Supreme Court crushed hopes by religious liberty advocates that the justices would soon address the conflict between LGBTQ-friendly public accommodation laws and business owners who follow their religious beliefs.
A final order list issued by the court on Friday denied review of Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, which involved a Washington state florist, Barronelle Stutzman, who declined to create a custom floral arrangement celebrating the same-sex marriage of a long-time customer. Three justices—Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch—would have accepted the case, one short of the four justices required for the case to be reviewed.
For Stutzman, who has been at odds with state authorities since 2013, the ruling means she must pay a $1,000 fine and serve same-sex couples. A lower court could also order her to pay the state’s legal fees for the yearslong litigation. The high court’s inaction on the conflict between LGBT activism and religious liberty leaves questions unresolved and is sure to invite further litigation.