ADF, floral artist respond to Washington AG regarding impact of Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President, U.S. Legal Division, Kristen Waggoner regarding Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s claim Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission will have little effect on a similar case, Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington, involving Richland floral artist Barronelle Stutzman:
“In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the U.S. Supreme Court denounced government hostility toward the religious beliefs about marriage held by creative professionals like Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman. Such hostility exists when the government treats those people of faith worse than other business owners. The state of Washington, acting through its attorney general, has done just that.
“While the attorney general failed to prosecute a business that obscenely berated and discriminated against Christian customers, he has steadfastly—and on his own initiative—pursued unprecedented measures to punish Barronelle not just in her capacity as a business owner but also in her personal capacity. In its Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, the Supreme Court condemned that sort of one-sided, discriminatory application of the law against people of faith.
“Also, in the legal briefs that the attorney general has filed in Barronelle’s case, he has repeatedly and overtly demeaned her faith. He has compared her religious beliefs about marriage—which the Supreme Court said are ‘decent and honorable’—to racial discrimination. This conflicts with the Supreme Court’s recognition in Masterpiece Cakeshop that it was ‘inappropriate’ for the government to draw parallels between those religious beliefs and ‘defenses of slavery.’
“Barronelle, like Jack, serves all customers but declines to create custom art that expresses messages or celebrates events in conflict with her deeply held religious beliefs. The attorney general’s efforts to punish her because he dislikes her beliefs about marriage are as impermissible as Colorado’s attempt to punish Jack.”
The following quote may be attributed to Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman:
“I serve everyone. What I can’t do is create custom floral arrangements that celebrate events or express messages at odds with my faith. For that, the attorney general has relentlessly prosecuted me, even suing me in my personal capacity.
“The man who asked me to design the floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding—Rob Ingersoll—was my customer and friend for over nine years. I knew that he was gay, but that didn’t matter because I serve everyone. He enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. I would gladly serve Rob if he were to come back to my shop today. The attorney general has always ignored that part of my case, choosing to vilify me and my faith instead of respecting my religious beliefs about marriage.
“When the state trial court ruled against me at the attorney general’s request, I wrote the attorney general a letter urging him ‘to drop’ the personal claims that risk stripping away ‘my home, business, and other assets.’ He didn’t do that. For him, this case has been about making an example of me—crushing me—all because he disapproves of what I believe about marriage.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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