Christian florist who turned down gay wedding faces ruin

A florist in Washington State can be sued personally by the state attorney general's office following a judge's ruling.

Barronnelle Stutzman, who is facing legal proceedings after refusing to provide flowers for a gay wedding.Alliance Defending Freedom

Barronelle Stutzman declined to provide flowers for Robert Ingersoll, a long-standing customer, for his same-sex wedding in 2012. She told reporters later, "I just took his hands and said, 'I'm sorry. I cannot do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.'"

Ingersoll posted on Facebook about the incident and though he had not filed a complaint the case was taken up by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who threatened legal action if Stutzman failed to comply with state anti-discrimination law.

The case was taken up by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which campaigns for religious liberty in the US.

Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled against an ADF motion arguing that state law does not allow for a person to be sued personally for actions taken in a business capacity.

This latest twist in the case means that Stutzman is individually liable for costs if her case fails, putting all of her personal as well as business assets at risk.

ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner said: "In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment. The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: Dare to disagree with the government and you put your home, your family business and your life savings at risk."