Atheist group sues Cranston florist over denied flower delivery

Jan 31, 2013

An atheist group out of Wisconsin is suing a Cranston florist for refusing to deliver flowers to Jessica Ahlquist. The flowers were to congratulate the Cranston West High School student for winning a lawsuit that removed a prayer banner from the school’s auditorium.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation first filed a complaint with the state’s  Human Rights commission that Twins Florist in Cranston was discriminating service based on religion, or in this case, a lack of religion. It took almost a year, but the commission found probable cause that the florist had violated state law.

Foundation attorney Rebecca Markert says while the organization originally just wanted an apology and a flower delivery, it’s now ready to fight the case in court.

“The law’s very clear, our civil rights statue say that you cannot discriminate based on religion and that would encompass those who don’t have any faith,” says Markert.

Calls to Twins Florist for this story were not returned. The Freedom from Religion Foundation tried to buy Ahlquist flowers from another Rhode Island florist, that complaint will be settled in mediation. A florist in Connecticut ended up delivering the flowers.

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