Lawsuits against florist may be combined

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RICHLAND — A Benton County Superior Court judge is expected to decide this week whether to combine two lawsuits against the Richland flower shop owner who refused service for a same-sex wedding.

A lawyer for Arlene's Flowers and shop owner Barronelle Stutzman argued Friday the lawsuits should be consolidated.

KVEW reports Stutzman's attorney says the same facts would be presented at both trials and consolidating would save time and money.

In March, Stutzman refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, saying it would violate her religious beliefs.

The Kennewick gay couple is suing Stutzman with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union for discrimination. She's also being sued by the state attorney general's office for violating consumer protection law.