It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the phrase, “Be kind, please rewind.” But that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard today’s big news.
The U.S. Supreme Court has finally decided what to do with Barronelle Stutzman’s case—and praise God, Barronelle lives to fight another day.
Today, the High Court issued an order in Barronelle’s case, Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. State of Washington. This announcement comes after the High Court delivered a win for Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on June 4.
The order in Barronelle’s case does three things:
- It granted Barronelle’s petition.
- It wiped out the Washington Supreme Court’s judgment against her.
- It sent her case back to the Washington courts and instructed them to reconsider the case in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
This is big news! The Washington Supreme Court had previously ruled that the government can force Barronelle to create artistic expression and participate in events that conflict with her faith. That decision denies Barronelle the right to run her business consistently with her faith, threatening the religious and expressive freedom of us all.
But that’s all wiped out now.
If the Washington Supreme Court looks at Barronelle’s case in light of legal precedent from the Masterpiece decision, which rejects government hostility toward religious beliefs about marriage held by creative professionals like Jack and Barronelle, will they find similar hostility and anti-religious bigotry? You bet.
The State of Washington, acting through its attorney general, has repeatedly demeaned Barronelle’s faith. And the state has pursued unprecedented measures to punish Barronelle, deciding not to file a lawsuit when another business obscenely berated and discriminated against Christian customers.
Barronelle, like Jack, serves all customers. She served Rob Ingersoll, one of the men that sued her, for nearly 10 years and considered him a friend. She made a number of floral arrangements for him, for all kinds of occasions. But when he asked her to design custom arrangements for his same-sex wedding, that was one event she could not use her artistic talents to celebrate. She kindly referred him to three other local floral artists who she knew would do a good job.
As a Christian, Barronelle believes that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. While she gladly designed custom floral arrangements for Rob and would happily do so again, it was a particular event—a same-sex marriage—in which she could not participate in good conscience.
You see, Barronelle not only designs custom floral arrangements to celebrate the bride and groom’s special day, she attends the wedding itself. Personally joining in a same-sex wedding in this way is something Barronelle could not do because of her faith.
But that didn’t stop the State of Washington and the ACLU from coming after Barronelle. In fact, it spurred them on all the more.
As Barronelle recently said, “For the [Washington Attorney General], this case has been about making an example of me—crushing me—all because he disapproves of what I believe about marriage.”
We must stand together as opponents of religious freedom continue to try to punish Christians for their faith. And your support today will make a difference for Barronelle.
There were many who did not think Jack would win—they didn’t believe there was hope. That just shows you how powerful God is, and what a difference your prayers and financial gifts can make.
It’s time to rally around Barronelle and secure a victory for her freedom—and yours. No one should be punished simply for living and working consistently with their faith.
Barronelle needs your support now more than ever. That’s why a group of generous Ministry Friends have provided a $50,000 challenge grant to protect people like Barronelle. Any gift that you make right now will have even more impact!
Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, he issued an executive order instructing his Administration to reinterpret “sex” in federal laws to mean “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
Tucked into the Digital Equity Act, which was included as a provision in the infrastructure bill, are sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination requirements.