The Story of Barronelle’s Appeal to the Supreme Court
The floral artist’s story
Update: U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Barronelle’s appeal. Support the cases of others like her here.
In February 2017, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the government can force this 76-year-old floral artist and grandmother to create floral art celebrating events that conflict with her faith.
Then, in June 2018, the United States Supreme Court wiped out that ruling against Barronelle in light of its decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case – and sent the case back to Washington State.
But on June 6, 2019, the Washington State Supreme Court doubled down on its first decision. It ruled that the government can force Barronelle to create artistic expression and participate in events that conflict with her faith.
Once again, Alliance Defending Freedom appealed her case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sadly, Barronelle received some devastating news. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal.
Barronelle Stutzman’s struggle for religious freedom should be alarming not only to Christians, but to every American who cherishes freedom.
Barronelle is a floral artist … and a grandmother. You’d never expect to see someone like her at the center of a firestorm. But she was sued in both her professional and personal capacity by the Washington attorney general and the ACLU.
Now, the ACLU could ask to take nearly everything she owns — including her business and her life’s savings.
Why was Barronelle targeted?
It all began when a longtime friend and client, Rob Ingersoll, asked Barronelle to create custom floral art celebrating his same-sex wedding.
Barronelle had served Rob for many years. But she affirms the biblical teaching, as people across the globe and throughout history have, that marriage is the sacred union of a man and a woman. So she could not participate in and celebrate a ceremony that contradicts that belief. But she referred him to other excellent florists in the area.
“As deeply fond as I am of Rob, my relationship with Jesus is everything to me. Without Christ, I can do nothing.”—Barronelle Stutzman
The threat to Barronelle’s religious freedom is a threat to your religious freedom.
After Rob’s partner told Facebook friends about Barronelle’s decision, she began receiving hate mail, angry phone calls, and even death threats. The Washington attorney general learned about the social media post and decided to sue Barronelle to make an example of her.
Because of God’s provision and your faithful support, we were able to represent Barronelle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In June 2018, the high court decided what to do with her case the first time around. In light of the win for cake artist Jack Phillips, the court decided to send Barronelle’s case back to the Washington Supreme Court. The justices agreed that her case, and the judgment against her, should be reconsidered based on the ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
And then on June 6, 2019, the Washington State Supreme Court issued its new ruling, denying Barronelle’s freedom once again. It ruled that the government can force Barronelle to create custom art and participate in events that conflict with her faith.
Our nation has a long history of protecting the right of peaceful citizens to hold different views about important issues like the meaning of marriage. Yet the government threatened Barronelle because she has a different view on marriage than the State does.
We must stand together as opponents of religious freedom continue to try to punish people of faith for their beliefs. And your support today could help turn the tide for others who find themselves in the same position as Barronelle.
You can make a difference and help people of faith get justice
The cost of preparing for and litigating cases like this can be great.
Thanks be to God, a generous family has given a $1 million challenge grant to help provide a strong legal defense for religious freedom and others like Barronelle.
Please help as generously as you can. Through your help, we are able to provide a strong legal defense for people like Barronelle who are targeted for their faith.
When Christians stand together, pray together, and unite in action, we can help protect religious freedom for everyone.
And it is vitally important to persevere.
Please help further the impact of a $1 million challenge grant. Freedom of conscience for all citizens is at risk.
Further the impact of the challenge grant with your gift today
Alliance Defending Freedom has established a strong record of success defending your religious freedom. God is using you in mighty ways—thank you.
But your help is critically needed now. Though Barronelle has received devastating news, for many others the fight is not over.
People like cake artist Jack Phillips, wedding photographer Bob Updegrove, and web designer Lorie Smith are still standing for the freedom to live and work consistently with their faith. And they’re not just standing for their freedom—but yours and all Americans.
Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to defend them—all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
God has shown us time and time again that when we stand together to protect religious freedom, by His grace, we can be victorious. But protecting religious freedom isn’t “someone else’s fight.” It’s your fight. It’s our fight.
About Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
ADF was launched in 1994 by 35 ministry leaders, including Dr. James Dobson, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Bill Bright, and Larry Burkett.
With God’s blessing, ADF has grown from the prayers of those godly leaders to become a major force in the legal battle for religious freedom, winning nearly 80% of our cases, including 14 victories at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2011.