Christian Florist Faces Ruin After Losing Religious Liberty Case
WA Supreme Court finds woman who declined to work gay wedding guilty of discrimination
A Christian florist’s personal assets and home are now at risk because she could not in good conscience arrange flowers that would be used in a gay wedding ceremony.
On Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Barronelle Stutzman broke anti-discrimination laws when she turned away a homosexual couple seeking floral arrangements for their wedding.
“Barronelle knew her customer and friend identified as gay, yet happily served him for years.”
“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will,” Kristen Waggoner, Stutzman’s attorney, wrote in a statement issued shortly after the ruling. “Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
Apparently the Washington State Supreme Court disagrees. The decision comes after a lengthy legal battle, which began in 2013. A lower court had previously found Stutzman guilty and fined her, but she appealed the decision.
With the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision, the only option left is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, something which Stutzman’s lawyer said would be done immediately following the decision.
The Left is hailing the decision as some sort of victory for equal rights and justice. “By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a written statement.
Others, however, say the ruling is a gross miscarriage of justice which intentionally distorts the law in order to suppress Christians and their beliefs.
“Americans were told repeatedly that redefining marriage would have little impact on their lives. Yet now courts are seeking to drive families from their businesses — and now today even their homes as the result of crippling government imposed fines designed to force them to deny their faith,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a prepared statement.
“Barronelle knew her customer and friend identified as gay, yet happily served him for years; she just didn’t want to be involved in his wedding. But the ACLU and the Washington State government couldn’t stand this, and decided to make an example out of her,” Perkins said.
This would indeed seem to be the case. The very fact that that Stutzman knew these customers were homosexual and happily served them in the past is surely evidence that she did not discriminate against them because of their sexual orientation, but simply wished to not lend her services to an event and ceremony in direct contravention of her deeply held religious beliefs.
The Left has blurred the distinction between refusing to serve an individual because of his sexual orientation and refusing to do business with an individual in one specific instance because one does not agree morally with what that individual plans to do with the product.
"The Washington State Supreme Court's ruling tramples on our nation's long-held tradition of respecting the freedom of Americans to follow their deeply held beliefs, especially when it comes to participating in activities and ceremonies that so many Americans consider sacred," Perkins said.
"Cultural elites may succeed in convincing judges to strip away the livelihoods of people but the elites continue to face a losing battle at the ballot box and in the court of public opinion."