State, Gay Couple Sue Christian Flower Shop

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The trial of a flower shop owner in Richland, Wash., is now underway in a case that pits religious freedom against gay rights.

Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers, is being sued by the state attorney general and a homosexual couple after objecting to providing flowers for their same-sex wedding because of her Christian faith.

The state attorney general argues she discriminated. Stutzman's attorney says the case is not about discrimination but freedom of religion.

On Friday, her attorney asked Benton County Superior Court Judge Salvador Mendoza to recuse himself because he knows one of the plaintiffs.

Mendoza was on the board of Columbia Basin College where plaintiff Curt Freed teaches. But the judge refused to step down from the case, saying he did not know Freed outside of interacting with him during board meetings.

The judge said he would give his decision in a few weeks after he's reviewed the briefs.

Meanwhile, a gay couple in Florida is the first to see immigration benefits approved, following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage last week.

A Bulgarian graduate student and his American partner were married in New York. Their marriage is still not recognized in Florida.

But on Friday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified the men that their green card petition was approved and could eventually lead to citizenship.

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