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Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington | Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll

Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington

Last Updated: 9/28/2021

Overview

What's at stake

The freedom to operate a business according to your religious beliefs

The right of artistic professionals to express themselves without government coercion to express views with which they disagree

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Summary

A longtime customer of floral artist Barronelle Stutzman asked her to design and create custom floral arrangements for his same-sex ceremony. She politely told him that she couldn’t participate in the ceremony because of her religious beliefs, and she referred him to three other local florists. After the customer’s partner described the conversation on his Facebook page, other media outlets started to report on the situation. 

After learning about the situation in the media, the Washington state attorney general filed a lawsuit against Barronelle, claiming that state law required her to create custom floral art celebrating same-sex ceremonies or give up her wedding business. Shortly after that, the ACLU also sued Barronelle on behalf of the same-sex couple. After this, Barronelle was faced with a barrage of media inquiries, hate mail and phone calls, and even death threats. 

The trial court ruled against Barronelle and ordered her to pay penalties and attorneys’ fees personally and professionally, threatening nearly everything she owns.

ADF petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to take up Barronelle’s case. In February 2017, that court concluded that the government can force her—and, by extension, other creative professionals—to create artistic expression and participate in events with which they disagree.

In July 2017, ADF petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Barronelle's case. But in June 2018, the Court sent the case back to the Washington Supreme Court, after vacating that court’s decision and instructing it to reconsider Barronelle's lawsuit in light of the victory for the cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In June 2019, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against Barronelle a second time. ADF attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court once again. But this time the high court declined to hear Barronelle's case.    

But Barronelle may have another chance at justice. A ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis bears on the legal issues presented and should be considered before Barronelle's case is closed. ADF is appealing 303 Creative to the Supreme Court and also asked the Court to reconsider its denial of Barronelle's case by granting the petition or holding it until 303 Creative is decided. 

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Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
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Center for Religious Expression", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---center-for-religious-expression.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:55 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - Concerned Women for America et al.", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---concerned-women-for-america-et-al.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:56 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention et al.", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---erlc-et-al.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:55 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - First Amendment scholars", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---first-amendment-scholars.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:56 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - Foundation for Moral Law", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---foundation-for-moral-law.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:58 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---samaritan-s-purse-and-the-billy-graham-evangelistic-association.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:59 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - States of Arkansas et al.", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---states-of-arkansas-et-al.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:59 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - United States Senators and Representatives", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---united-states-senators-and-representatives.pdf", "Date": "10/15/2019 9:57:59 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioner (2019) - Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and Individual Rights Foundation", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner-(2019)---cato-institute-reason-foundation-and-individual-rights-foundation.pdf", "Date": "10/14/2019 9:57:56 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Petition for writ of certiorari (2019)", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---petition-for-writ-of-certiorari-(2019).pdf", "Date": "9/11/2019 4:16:44 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Washington Supreme Court opinion (2019)", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---washington-supreme-court-opinion-(2019).pdf", "Date": "6/6/2019 4:51:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Appellants response to amici curiae", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---appellants-response-to-amici-curiae.pdf", "Date": "3/22/2019 9:32:59 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with Washington Supreme Court by multiple state attorneys general", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief-filed-with-washington-supreme-court-by-multiple-state-attorneys-general.pdf", "Date": "3/5/2019 9:32:59 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Reply brief of appellants", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---reply-brief-of-appellants.pdf", "Date": "2/13/2019 9:32:59 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Brief of appellants on remand", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---brief-of-appellants-on-remand.pdf", "Date": "11/13/2018 2:12:45 AM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Reply brief of petitioners", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---reply-brief-of-petitioners.pdf", "Date": "11/9/2017 3:43:04 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - 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McLeod", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---legal-scholar-adam-j-mcleod.pdf", "Date": "8/21/2017 9:44:06 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - North Carolina Values Coalition and Family Research Council", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---north-carolina-values-coalition-and-frc.pdf", "Date": "8/21/2017 9:44:06 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - Restoring Religious Freedom Project", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---restoring-religious-freedom-project.pdf", "Date": "8/21/2017 9:44:07 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - Thomas More Society", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---thomas-more-society.pdf", "Date": "8/21/2017 9:44:07 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - Washington State Catholic Conference, Jews for Religious Liberty, Imam Shahin, and the Ethics & religious Liberty Commission", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---washington-state-catholic-conference-et-al.pdf", "Date": "8/21/2017 9:44:07 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief in support of petitioners - Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and Individual Rights Foundation", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---amicus-brief-in-support-of-petitioner---cato-institute-et-al.pdf", "Date": "8/15/2017 9:44:06 PM"}, {"Court": "U.S. Supreme Court", "Title": "Petition for writ of certiorari", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/arlene's-flowers-v-state-of-washington---petition-for-writ-of-certiorari.pdf", "Date": "7/14/2017 9:44:07 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Washington Supreme Court opinion", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---washington-supreme-court-opinion.pdf", "Date": "2/16/2017 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - Legal Scholars", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief---legal-scholars.pdf", "Date": "9/30/2016 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - National religious organizations", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief---national-religious-organizations.pdf", "Date": "9/30/2016 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - Adam J. MacLeod", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief---adam-j-macleod.pdf", "Date": "9/30/2016 9:44:04 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - The Frederick Douglass Foundation et al.", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief---fdf.pdf", "Date": "9/30/2016 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - Christian Legal Society, Association of Christian Schools International, and National Association of Evangelicals", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---amicus-brief---cls.pdf", "Date": "9/29/2016 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "State Supreme Court", "Title": "Amicus brief - 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Arlene's Flowers", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---complaint---arlene's-flowers.pdf", "Date": "8/1/2013 9:44:06 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Answer to ACLU complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---answer-to-aclu-complaint.pdf", "Date": "5/17/2013 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Answer to Wash. AG and countersuit against AG", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---answer-to-wash-ag-and-countersuit-against-ag.pdf", "Date": "5/14/2013 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "ACLU complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---aclu-complaint.pdf", "Date": "4/18/2013 9:44:05 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "AG complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/arlene's-flowers-v.-state-of-washington-arlene's-flowers-v.-ingersoll/state-of-washington-v-arlene's-flowers---ag-complaint.pdf", "Date": "4/9/2013 9:44:05 PM"}]}

Biographies

John Bursch

Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy

John Bursch, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. He has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court and over 30 State Supreme Court cases.

Kristen K. Waggoner

General Counsel

Kristen K. Waggoner serves as General Counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. Her role includes oversight of the U.S. legal division, a team of 100 attorneys and staff who engage in litigation, public advocacy, and legislative support.


Additional Resources

 

Video: Watch WA Attorney General concede that Barronelle’s floral designs are a form of speech

Video: Barronelle Stutzman Oral Arguments Washington State Supreme Court 11-15-16

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