White roses with Let Freedom Bloom and Justice for Barronnelle signs

WA Supreme Court Rules Florist Must Put Aside Religious Beliefs at Work

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the government can force 72-year-old great-grandmother and florist Barronelle Stutzman—and, by extension, other Washingtonians—to create artistic expression and participate in events with which they disagree. Stutzman provided a gay customer with flowers for more than 10 years, but when she politely declined to participate in his same-sex wedding, the state’s Attorney General and the ACLU sued her. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will be appealing Stutzman’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

ADF Notes Important Points to This Case

Says ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek about this case, “This is a grave injustice. The Court’s opinion is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist. It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.

“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. This includes not only her business, but also her family’s savings, retirement funds, and home.

“It’s no wonder that so many people are rightly calling on President Trump to sign an executive order to protect our religious freedom because that freedom is clearly at risk for Barronelle and so many other Americans.”

Barronelle Defends Her Freedom of Expression

Says Barronelle Stutzman about the ruling, “Rob Ingersoll and I have been friends since very nearly the first time he walked into my shop all those years ago. 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.”

FACT hopes you will also stand with Barronelle because Americans don’t abandon their freedom when they open a creative business. If you share this story on Twitter, please use this hashtag: #JusticeForBarronelle

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