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Supreme Court of the United States

Barronelle Stutzman Passes Her Torch to Lorie Smith

By Neal Hardin posted on:
November 23, 2021

After nearly 10 years of courageous action, Barronelle and her husband Darold have finally decided to put their legal battle to rest.

As many of you know, Barronelle is a floral artist and a devout Christian. One day, Rob, a long-time friend and customer, came in and made a request which she could not fulfill in good conscience: create a custom floral arrangement for his same-sex wedding. As a Christian, Barronelle believes the Bible to be the Word of God, and that the Bible makes clear that marriage is to be a union between one man and one woman. She could not use her artistic talents to celebrate something which would go against her deeply held religious beliefs and conscience.

What followed has been a long and arduous journey of legal battles designed to force Barronelle to either change her beliefs or pay an immense cost for believing them—a cost that she endured with grace through her entire legal journey, even when she was personally attacked. Last week, that journey came to a close. Read Barronelle’s letter here.

But this isn’t the end. The fight for the rights of creative professionals continues around the nation.

While Barronelle and Darold have decided to sell her business and retire, they are passing on the legal torch to other artists like Lorie Smith of 303 Creative in Colorado, whose case could very well be heard by the Supreme Court.

Lorie Smith is a web designer and graphic artist. In 2016, ADF attorneys filed a pre-enforcement lawsuit on Lorie’s behalf challenging a Colorado public-accommodation law, the same law the Colorado Civil Rights Commission tried to use to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips. Lorie’s faith teaches her that marriage is between one man and one woman. So she cannot use her design skills to create websites and graphics celebrating same-sex weddings without violating her deeply held religious convictions. Yet, Colorado interprets its law to compel Lorie to celebrate same-sex weddings and to even prohibit her from explaining her religious beliefs on her own website. Lorie is happy to design websites and graphics for all people; she simply cannot pour her heart, imagination, and talents into creating and speaking messages that violate her conscience.

Sound familiar?

In July 2021, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that Colorado can force Lorie to express messages and celebrate events that violate her faith. That's why ADF appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. ADF is hopeful that the Supreme Court will hear Lorie’s case and rule in favor of protecting the rights of artists, and all Americans, to be able to speak freely and live in accordance with their deeply held convictions.

But such efforts would not be possible without Barronelle Stutzman, who was able to courageously stand with conviction and civility. To her, we say “Thank you” and “Well done.” ADF will continue to build on her legacy.

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Neal Hardin

Neal Hardin

Neal Hardin serves as Digital Writer for Alliance Defending Freedom

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