Florist Wants to Be Part of Cake-Maker Case Over Serving Gay Weddings

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A florist from Washington state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a state court’s unanimous ruling that would force her to service same-sex weddings, despite her religious convictions.

Barronelle Stutzman/PHOTO: Alliance Defending Freedom

Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richmond, Washington, was sued by a same-sex couple after she refused to provide flowers for their wedding ceremony, citing her belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

A Washington state court ruled against her in February, stating she had discriminated against the couple. Though Stutzman acted in accordance with her faith, she was charged with unlawful discrimination.

PREVIOUSLY: Washington Supreme Court Says Florist Must Service Gay Weddings

“You have to make a stand somewhere in your life on what you believe and what you don’t believe,” Stutzman told CBN in an interview. “It was just a time I had to take a stand.”

The judge ruled she must serve same-sex weddings, or stop serving weddings altogether. The court also imposed a $1,000 fine.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group that defends religious liberty, is asking the Supreme Court to consolidate Stutzman’s case with a similar case the Court already accepted — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission – in which baker Jack Phillips was told by state courts to make wedding cakes for gay couples or be subject to fines.

PREVIOUSLY: Supreme Court to Take Up LGBT Wedding Cake Battle in Colorado

Supreme Court to Take Up LGBT Wedding Cake Battle in Colo.

Jack Phillips/PHOTO: Alliance Defending Freedom

“Our nation has a long history of protecting the right to dissent, but simply because Barronelle disagrees with the state about marriage, the government and ACLU have put at risk everything she owns,” ADF Senior Counsel Kristin Waggoner said. “This includes not only her business, but also her family’s savings, retirement funds, and home. Not only does her case and Jack Phillips’ case involve similar issues, but both Barronelle and Jack face burdensome penalties for simply exercising their right of free expression.”

PREVIOUSLY: Criminalized Colorado Cake-Baker Says He’s Faced Death Threats

Robert Ingersoll, a longtime customer whom Stutzman considered a friend, approached her in 2013, soon after the state legalized gay marriage. After Stutzman declined to provide bouquets for his wedding ceremony, she recommended several other local florists, they hugged, and he left.

“Rob Ingersoll and I have been friends since very nearly the first time he walked into my shop all those years ago,” said Stutzman. “There was never an issue with his being gay, just as there hasn’t been with any of my other customers or employees. He just enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. But now the state is trying to use this case to force me to create artistic expression that violates my deepest beliefs and take away my life’s work and savings, which will also harm those who I employ. I’m not asking for anything that our Constitution hasn’t promised me and every other American: the right to create freely, and to live out my faith without fear of government punishment or interference.”

Waggoner said the Washington state court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent against religious freedom that infringes on citizens’ First Amendment rights.

“If the government can ruin Barronelle for peacefully living and working according to her faith, it can punish anyone else for expressing their beliefs,” Waggoner said. “The government shouldn’t have the power to force a 72-year-old grandmother to surrender her freedom in order to run her family business. Anyone who supports the First Amendment rights that the U.S. Constitution guarantees to all of us should stand with Barronelle.”

  • John

    It seems to me that these business owners expressed 1st Amendment right would trump the couples desire to have them perform a service that went against their beliefs. Besides why would you even want a business to do something for you they didn’t want to? I’d be concerned about the product.
    But this is another case of the militant intolerant left trying to force their beliefs on others. It’s not enough to say you may agree that they have a right to be together or marry ( at least legally) they want to force participation against their wilil .

    This stems from the lefts war on Christianity. Of course their new found friends, the sharia touting Muslims violently oppose homosexuality, but they are willingly ignorant to that.

    Economics being what they are I am sure businesses run by gays, or leftists or atheists or whoever, will rise up and specialize in serving this group of people. Isn’t that a better solution anyway.

    • ll ll

      I guarantee you that the left would defend an atheist right to not serve a Christian wedding. Or say NOTHING if a Muhammadan refused to serve Jews or Christians. All we would hear would be crickets chirping LOUDLY in the background.

  • rhuland

    The Supreme Court should certainly add this case, and I sincerely hope this will settle the matter for all cases where serving a customer violates one’s conscience. And overturns prior state cases where someone like the baker in Oregon has been persecuted for her beliefs.

  • Terry Maloney

    This is an infringement of our right to provide service to someone because of our religious beliefs. It is not like it would leave someone with no options. Such a stupid try to make people conform with another’s beliefs.

    • Eileen Ross

      Agreed. And another thought. The gays are known for their artistic abilities, so I’m sure there must be plenty of gay florists available to accommodate a gay non-marriage.
      But you’re right, it’s just a way to push and force us to bow down to their sick lifestyle. Again, it’s been part of a well thought out plan to destroy Christianity.

  • Gregg Parker

    The free exercise of religious beliefs is what’s under attack. The moral code inherent in the Christian faith has God’s word which discriminates against sodomites for their unnatural behavior. Jesus tempered our zeal to purge them from the earth and simply has us separate ourselves from them. To ban this position is to ban God’s word from the public square and thus our own ability to express his edicts… which is why we are all so demonized by the demons! They hate Christ. Allah on the other hand more than hates them. In fact unlike Christians he calls his followers to kill them wholesale as another class of infidels, but for some unknown reason get a pass on their intolerance… interesting…

  • Gregg Parker

    Couldn’t agree more. If the gale force winds blowing against our words ever lets up perhaps someone else will actually hear them and consider what they mean… keep punching!!

  • Lawrence Rodriguez

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not be imposed on just one side of the argument. Business owners should also have the right to run their businesses as they see fit according to their beliefs. I pray it will be so again.

  • I understand the concern for civil rights under the Constitution. However, the First Amendment clear states that religion is to be honored, period. One’s moral conscience is their own and no one has any right to interfere with it. Too many, including the LGBT community does not understand that what Christians are doing has nothing to do with encroaching on the rights of LGBT people. But it does have a whole lot to do with the rights of Christians. If this was a life saving situation or a serious denial of services in a community, that is one thing. But that does not include flowers, cakes or photos and any other benefits an LGBT couple cannot go through a phone book and get elsewhere in a very short amount of time. Inconveniences are not in the Constitution.

  • Donna Crumpler

    However, she knew he was gay and had no problem selling him arrangements in the past. So obviously she had no qualms about his sexuality then. All of a sudden now that the arrangements are for his wedding, she stands on religious right. Very hypocritical.

  • Garrett Auman

    What ever happened to “WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE” ????????

  • Boomergirl

    While I agree with both the florist and the baker, the law sees them as businesses open to the public and that trumps their religious freedom. They are expected to service any customer’s reasonable demand, which they consider these two issues to be. It’s sad, because as the florist explained, she recommended other florists who wouldn’t have an issue with the gay wedding, but the customer obviously felt slighted. That is what all this is about.

  • rueangel

    So, this nice lady thought of this gay guy as a,..’friend’, But now he wants to ruin her life,.over some bouquets…

    Lesson to be learned,..

    Never, ever, trust a gay,..

    [Google the story of “The Scorpion & the Frog”.]

  • Mark

    Jack and Barronnelle are Godly hero’s we should all emulate

  • Christian_Prophet

    Her stance is not religious freedom. It is religious hate. People like this lady have corrupted the Christian religion. She needs to love a gay person and make a cake, no two cakes for the wedding. She will then have blessings in heaven.

  • Matthew Bowman

    I don’t see how the Supreme Court could overturn the people’s will if we pass a law defining marriage as between one woman and one man. If this is the law how could the “equal protection” clause be used? If the sick twisted homos don’t like it too bad! They are the minority here and should get back in the closet!

  • Henry Gregg Nash

    They should grow their own flowers and bake their own cakes!