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The other gay wedding case that could go to the Supreme Court. This one’s about flowers.

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Last year, Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Arlene’s Flowers vs. Washington that Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, violated state law when she refused to provide flowers for the wedding of two men in 2013, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. She appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is deciding whether it will hear the case.

The florist is defended by Alliance Defending Freedom, the same conservative Christian nonprofit that defended the baker in the gay wedding cake case, Masterpiece Cakeshop’s Jack Phillips. ADF initially sought to consolidate the two cases and argue them in front of the Supreme Court together, but the court declined.

“Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the Washington court ruled last year.

Image: Curt Freed, Robert Ingersoll
Curt Freed, left, and his husband Robert Ingersoll, after a hearing before the state’s Supreme Court on Nov. 15, 2016, in Bellevue, Washington.Elaine Thompson / AP file

Both the state and the couple sued after Stutzman, the couple’s longtime florist, arguing that she was in violation of a Washington law that makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Stuzman, a Southern Baptist, said providing the flowers would violate her religious beliefs and “her relationship with Jesus Christ.”

She also said the law violated constitutionally protected right of free speech, asserting the flower arrangements were a form of artistic expression. Phillips had said the same about his wedding cakes.

The decision to either provide or refuse to provide flowers for a wedding does not inherently express a message about the wedding,” the Washington court ruled. “As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism.”

It also rejected her claim that the law violated her religious freedom, because it applied to the general public and was not targeted at any particular religious practice.

In Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that future cases would be necessary to settle the broader debate between religious rights and discrimination.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” he wrote.

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Nicola Sturgeon rudely interrupted in FMQs as mobile phone goes off mid-session – VIDEO

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WATCH the moment Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was rudely interrupted by a mobile phone going off during a session in Scottish Parliament.

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Those who didn’t vote in 2016 are showing up early in droves — and more are Democrats

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With early voting totals smashing records on a daily basis, Democrats are leading with a key constituency — those who did not, or could not, vote in 2016.

So far, more than 20 percent of the early vote nationwide has come from these voters, according to data from NBC News Decision Desk/TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm.

With 77 million having already cast early votes — a number that the Decision Desk projects could hit 100 million by Tuesday’s election — more than 17.5 million of those votes have come from voters who passed on voting in 2016 or were not yet eligible to vote.

Among those 17.5 million voters, Democrats hold a nearly 2 million vote advantage over Republicans, with roughly 7.5 million votes coming from registered Democrats and 5.5 million from registered Republicans, according to the Decision Desk/TargetSmart. An additional 4.46 million came from independents who did not vote in 2016.

Polls show independents overall breaking toward 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who holds a large polling lead with early voters in key states while President Donald Trump maintains a significant advantage among those who have yet to vote.

“While early vote turnout has shattered all records, the most meaningful statistic is the number of ballots cast by voters who didn’t turn out in 2016,” Tom Bonier, a veteran Democratic strategist and CEO of TargetSmart. “These are the voters who will determine how the 2020 electorate differs from Trump’s winning coalition in 2016.”

“These surge voters are younger, more diverse, and more likely to vote Democratic,” he added. “That’s all a good sign for Joe Biden, at this point, though this electorate continues to be highly dynamic and Republicans are counting on a surge on Election Day.”

More than 26 percent of these new or non-voters skew younger, between 18-29 years old, with a good chunk coming from the youngest in that group who are voting in their first election. Polling shows that age group is Biden’s best demographic and has the highest percentage of voters who said they planned to cast an early ballot.

But it’s not just young voters. More than 22 percent comes from voters between 50-64 while seniors account for another 20 percent.

Democrats are leading with this key demographic in several critical swing states, including Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to the Decision Desk/Target Smart. Republicans maintain a slim advantage in Georgia and larger leads in Ohio and Texas.

The state with the most eye-opening totals is Pennsylvania — one of the most pivotal states in the 2020 election and where Biden and Trump have duked it out for months.

In the Keystone State, more than 331,000 registered Democrats who did not or could not vote in 2016 have cast ballots so far, compared to just more than 95,000 Republicans. Another 78,000-plus of these voters who are unaffiliated with either party have voted there, too.



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Jeremy Corbyn SUSPENDED from Labour Party after saying anti-Semitism 'overstated'

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JEREMY CORBYN has been suspended from Labour after he accused the party’s anti-Semitism problem of being “overstated”.

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