Although it’s a long shot, there may be one more glimmer of hope for Barronelle Stutzman as she continues her long stand for freedom.
For roughly eight years, Barronelle—a wife, mother, grandmother, and floral artist— has been fighting legal battles against the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) and the State of Washington for her freedom to create custom floral art without violating her conscience.
Then, last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up Barronelle’s religious liberty case .
The high court’s denial to hear her case was devastating, because it meant that the Washington Supreme Court ruling—that Barronelle was wrong to act in accordance with her conscience—will stand. Not only will Barronelle no longer be able to design custom floral arrangements for her customers’ weddings, she could also be forced to pay substantial attorney fees to the ACLU. That might bankrupt her, since she was sued in both her professional and personal capacities.
This was devastating news to Barronelle and her family.
But now, Barronelle might have another chance at justice.
As Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George at National Review recently explained, the court might have “ a chance for a re-do .”
A recent ruling in another case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, has bearing on the legal issues presented and should be considered before Barronelle’s case is closed.
In late July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled against Colorado website designer Lorie Smith . The court ruled that Lorie had to abide by a Colorado law that forces her to design and publish websites that support messages which violate her deeply held religious beliefs. Colorado’s law forces Lorie to create content that celebrates same-sex weddings, trampling on her First Amendment rights.
The government shouldn’t force anyone to celebrate or support messages that violate their conscience. That’s why ADF is appealing the decision in Lorie’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And that’s where Barronelle comes in.
With Lorie’s case moving forward—and hopes of the Supreme Court taking this case, 303 Creative, and reversing the lower court’s ruling—attorneys at ADF have asked the Court to reconsider its denial of Barronelle’s case and grant the petition or hold it until Lorie’s case is decided.
The cases are strikingly similar—both Barronelle and Lorie are being forced by supposed non-discrimination laws to create custom art in support of messages that violate their consciences.
Please pray with us as we await news from the Court in both cases. And stay up to date on these cases and other ones like them by signing up for our newsletter.
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