‘If the government can ruin Barronelle, it can punish anyone else for expressing their beliefs…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) In light of its recent decision upholding religious freedom, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case of a floral artist back to the Washington Supreme Court on Monday.
Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington state, asked the Supreme Court last year to reverse the state court’s unanimous ruling forcing her to service same-sex weddings, despite her religious convictions.
A same-sex couple sued her after she refused to provide flowers for their wedding ceremony, citing her belief that marriage should be between one man and woman.
The Washington state court ruled against her last February, saying she had discriminated against the couple.
“You have to make a stand somewhere in your life on what you believe and don’t believe,” Stutzman told CBN in an interview. “It was just a time I had to take a stand.”
In a similar case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the state cannot punish baker Jack Phillips for living and working consistently with his religious beliefs about marriage.
The Court sent Stutzman’s case back to the Washington state court for reconsideration in light of its Masterpiecedecision.
Kristin Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and Stutzman’s attorney, said the Washington state court can’t force a person to live out her faith in fear of the government.
“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 in a statement. “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.”