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Supreme Court of the United States

Barronelle Takes Her Last Stand at the Supreme Court

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

And then there were two.

Today, Alliance Defending Freedom asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Washington floral design artist Barronelle Stutzman. This comes just weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips. They are both asking the Supreme Court to protect their right to peacefully live and work according to their religious beliefs without government punishment. 

For Barronelle, this began in 2013 when she kindly told her longtime customer Rob Ingersoll that she could not create custom floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding ceremony because of her religious beliefs about marriage.

Barronelle had served Rob for almost 10 years, providing all sorts of custom floral arrangements for different occasions. But as a Christian, a wedding is different. It is a covenant between one man and one woman symbolizing the relationship between Christ and the Church. She could not use her God-given artistic talents to celebrate an event that contradicts that belief. She explained this to Rob and recommended three other florists that she knew would do a great job. They hugged, and he left the store.

What Barronelle did not expect was that the Washington State Attorney General would hear about this interaction through social media, and then sue her – not only in her professional capacity, but in her personal capacity as well.

For more than four years, Barronelle has endured the litigation in this case with unwavering grace, humility, and faith – even as she faces losing everything she owns. Now she will take her last stand before the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to preserve her religious freedom and her right not to be forced to speak a message about marriage that violates her beliefs.

It’s hardly disputed that artistic expression, such as floral art, is speech. The Washington State Attorney General admitted as much. So, the real issue here is whether the state can compel her to speak a government-mandated message. The state claims that it has the right to do so – that it has the right to go after a 72-year-old grandmother for everything she owns just because what she believes does not fall in line with the state’s political agenda. 

But that is blatantly unconstitutional.

If the government can demand that we speak a certain message or be punished, that should concern us all. That puts not just Barronelle’s freedom at stake, but everyone’s.

So, we are asking the Supreme Court to uphold Barronelle’s First Amendment rights.

By standing with Barronelle and helping us provide her with the best legal defense possible, you will help send a strong message that these types of unconstitutional actions are not permissible in our country.

Will you stand with Barronelle as she asks our country’s highest court to hear her case, and preserve our freedom?

Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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