Barronelle Stutzman is back in a familiar place – before the United States Supreme Court.
Six years ago, Barronelle’s journey to the Supreme Court started with a decision.
When longtime customer Rob Ingersoll walked into her shop and requested custom floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding, she decided to stay true to her beliefs about marriage. She took Rob’s hand in hers, gently explained that she could not help celebrate his wedding, and offered to refer Rob to another florist she knew would do a good job.
That one decision has led her to the High Court not once, but twice.
Today, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) asked the Supreme Court to hear Barronelle’s case and make clear that she should not be forced to express messages or celebrate events that violate her faith.
This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has considered Barronelle’s case. Last year, the Supreme Court sent her case back to the Washington Supreme Court, asking it to reconsider in light of its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop – where it ruled that the government cannot act with hostility toward people’s religious beliefs about marriage.
But the Washington Supreme Court ruled against Barronelle again. And the State of Washington continues to show hostility toward Barronelle and her beliefs about marriage.
Barronelle served Rob for nearly ten years. She loved designing creative floral arrangements for him for all sorts of special occasions. But as a Christian, Barronelle believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. Rob’s same-sex wedding was one event that she knew she could not celebrate with her artistic talents.
This decision had nothing to do with Rob. Barronelle would gladly serve him for another ten years if he walked into her shop today. She serves all people, but she cannot create art to celebrate, or take part in, every event requested of her.
Barronelle is actively involved in her customer’s weddings. In her act of designing the floral arrangements, she is rejoicing with the couple. But that’s not all. She personally attends the ceremony to make sure all the floral arrangements are perfect and that they convey the celebratory message they are meant to express. She also places her custom floral creations on the people in the bridal party and, if necessary, helps to calm their nerves.
But the Washington state attorney general ignored all of those facts. Instead, he decided to make an example of Barronelle. Without any formal complaint – after hearing about Barronelle and Rob’s discussion through media reports – the attorney general filed a lawsuit against her. Later, the ACLU also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couple.
Between the two cases, Barronelle stands to lose everything she owns: the shop that she bought from her mother and her life’s savings. Even with this all on the line, she still knows how important it is to stand up for her right to live consistently with her faith.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Supreme Court said that unequal treatment disfavoring people of faith is often evidence of anti-religious hostility. That’s exactly what’s happening here. While the state has pursued unprecedented measures to punish Barronelle, it did not file a lawsuit when another business obscenely berated and discriminated against Christian customers.
It’s hard to deny the government hostility at play here.
The bottom line is that Americans should not have to live in fear of government punishment simply for living consistently with their beliefs. Whether you agree with Barronelle about marriage or not, we should all support her right to live and work according to her faith.
If she doesn’t have that freedom, then none of us do.
Please join us in praying that the Supreme Court takes up her case and protects that freedom for Barronelle, and for us all.
Help Support Barronelle!
Right now, Barronelle is taking a stand and defending our constitutional rights before the U.S. Supreme Court. In doing so, she has risked everything – her life savings, her flower shop, and her reputation.
Cases like Barronelle’s that go to the Supreme Court can cost over $1 million. Barronelle would never be able to afford this type of legal representation. Thankfully, faithful supporters of ADF make her defense possible, all at no cost to her.
That’s why we need your help.
By standing with Barronelle and helping us provide her with the best possible legal defense, you will send a strong message that these types of unconstitutional actions are wrong.
Please lend your hand in this battle and stand with Barronelle with your donation today.
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