The Freedom From Religion Foundation will be filing a complaint with the state after several local florists refused flower orders for delivery to Jessica Ahlquist,
Annie Laurie Gaylor of the FFRF said the foundation will be filing a complaint that alleges one of the florists, , violated the civil rights act by denying service to Ahlquist based on her religion or lack thereof.
"We have basic civil rights standards in our society. A business can't shun you because you're an atheist," Gaylor said. "You do not have the right to refuse to do business with someone based on categories and that includes religion. It's as if they said 'I will not deliver to a black person.'"
Gaylor said the foundation attempted to have flowers delivered to Ahlquist after a grueling week during which her picture has been plastered across the front page of the newspaper day after day and she been chased by camera crews, some staking out the high school on Monday morning to photograph her returning to school after rumors that she was leaving West to go to LaSalle Academy floated through Facebook. The Wisconsin-basedfoundation ordered a dozen roses with the message "Congratulations, and hang in there, with admiration from FFRF."
The foundation was denied by three florists in Cranston and others in Warwick. They eventually had to order from a florist in Connecticut.
As many ask whether the media is focusing too much on the young girl represented by the state chapter of the American with Civil Liberties Union instead of the lawsuit, this latest twist in the heated controversy adds increasing pressure on the School Committee to end speculation about whether they'll pursue an appeal of and somehow put the issue to rest.
Gaylor said the School Committee has only one responsible action to take, and that's to announce there is no appeal and do so "as soon as possible."
"They need to end the controversy," she said. "It will die down. The reason it is so enflamed is that people think they can now influence the school board by throwing money at them" or threatening to vote them all out if they don't file an appeal.
School Committee members have said they will not be pressured into making any decision. At a meeting earlier this week, Superintedent Peter Nero admonished pro-banner protesters who booed a person speaking in favor of the court order, telling the audience that they need to "set an example."
Gaylor released the order receipt from Twin's Florist that states "I will not deliver to this person."