The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to take up the highly publicized case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who declined to participate in a same-sex "wedding," citing her views on traditional marriage.
The State of Washington said what Stutzman (pictured), owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, did is against the law. Today the Washington Supreme Court upheld that decision again after a six-year legal battle.
"While I know this isn't the last word on the case, it pains me to see my own state continue to come after my flower shop, my home, and every penny I own – especially after the U.S. Supreme Court specifically instructed the state court to look at my case more seriously," Stutzman, 74, said in a media call today. "I risk losing everything just because I chose not to participate in a same-sex wedding of a long-time friend and customer."
Stutzman gave her customer, Rob Ingersoll, the names of other nearby florists she thought would fulfill his requests. Still, that wasn't good enough to satisfy the State of Washington.
"Rob has the freedom to act on his beliefs about marriage, and I'm only asking for the same freedom," Stutzman said about her customer.
John Bursh, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the organization representing Stutzman, says Washington's attorney general treats Stutzman as a villain.
"It not only went after her business but sued her in her personal capacity as well," says the attorney. "Meanwhile, the state has applied its laws unevenly, choosing not to sue a coffee shop owner who profanely berated and expelled customers for their Christian beliefs."
Today's decision by the Washington State Supreme Court came just a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.
"The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear [in the Masterpiece case] that government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society," says Bursch. "Not only that, but the Court followed that 7-2 decision with rulings in NIFLA and Janus upholding the freedom of those who decline to create and express messages in violation of their beliefs."
ADF represented Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.