‘Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Washington florist is taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court for the second time after the state of Washington’s highest court ruled that she violated state law by refusing to service a gay couple’s wedding.
Barronelle Stutzman chose not to serve a gay couple in 2013 after recommending the two regular customers to other florists in the area.
She was sued for discrimination, and after years of court battles, she is once again appealing her case and asking SCOTUS to uphold her religious beliefs.
SCOTUS knocked her case back down to the state level last summer, the first time she appealed, but the Washington Supreme Court ruled against her and claimed she violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
SCOTUS asked the Washington Supreme Court to make sure they did not make the same mistake as Colorado, but the Washington court decided to interpret SCOTUS’s ruling differently.
“We now hold that the answer to the Supreme Court’s question is no, ” the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling said. “[T]he adjudicatory bodies that considered this case did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist and her corporation violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination … by declining to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple.”
The Washington court took it a step farther, not only denying that the state was unfairly targeting Stutzman for her beliefs, but also asserting that such beliefs did not, in fact, constitute a religious liberty that was entitled to First Amendment protections.
“[T]hey did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution,” the court wrote.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative nonprofit legal group that represents Stutzman, said the Washington Supreme Court took advantage of SCOTUS and upheld a ruling that is inherently hostile to the free exercise of religion.
“Barronelle serves all customers,” ADF Senior Counsel John Bursch said in a statement. “[S]he simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs.”
Despite the similarities with the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which ADF also represented, the far-left state chose to openly flout the high court’s decision, Bursch said.
“[T]he state of Washington has been openly hostile toward Barronelle’s religious beliefs about marriage, and now the Washington Supreme Court has given the state a pass,” he said. “We look forward to taking Barronelle’s case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.”