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

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Monday, May 04, 2020

Description:  Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union sued floral artist Barronelle Stutzman after she declined, because of her faith, to personally participate in—or design custom floral arrangements celebrating—the same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for nearly 10 years.

ADF to US Supreme Court: Washington court got it wrong, floral artist shouldn’t be forced to celebrate events that violate her faith

ADF attorneys return to high court, file reply brief on behalf of Barronelle Stutzman after Washington court minimizes previous Supreme Court decision, upholds ruling that threatens to bankrupt her
Friday, December 20, 2019

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing floral artist Barronelle Stutzman filed their reply brief Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review in Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington and Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll. Stutzman serves all customers but cannot create custom floral designs to celebrate a view of marriage that violates her faith. The brief argues that state and local governments throughout the country have threatened creative professionals in similar situations. Stutzman’s case offers the ideal opportunity to address the constitutional concerns of many in the wedding industry.

As the brief explains, Stutzman’s case “involves com­pelled participa­tion, custom art, and government hostility—key issues that arise in many cases but not often all in one. Review would allow this Court to provide lower courts with guidance on all these issues and set straight a state court that simply reissued most of its prior ruling verbatim in response to this Court’s remand. Also, Barro­nelle’s long-time friend­ship with Robert, practice of design­ing arrange­ments to celebrate in­numerable events for gay cust­omers, and willingness to sell unarranged or prearranged flowers for same-sex weddings all show that First Amendment freedoms and public-accommo­dation laws can coexist.”

“Taking up Barronelle’s case would give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to resolve many important legal issues left unanswered after last year’s Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. It would also offer the high court the chance to reaffirm that the First Amendment protects the freedom of Americans to live consistently with different views about topics as fundamental as the meaning of marriage,” said ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner, who argued on Stutzman’s behalf before the Washington Supreme Court in 2016 and who also argued for Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips before the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

Stutzman is a 74-year-old great grandmother who in September asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take her case after the Washington Supreme Court ruled against her in June. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the state high court’s previous ruling against Stutzman and ordered it to reconsider her case in light of last year’s Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. The state court came back with the same result, repeating verbatim most of what it said in its original decision.

In the Masterpiece case, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Colorado’s decision to punish Jack Phillips for living and working consistently with his religious beliefs about marriage, just as Stutzman has been trying to do while enduring lawsuits from the Washington attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union. The two sued Stutzman after she declined, because of her faith, to personally participate in—and design custom floral arrangements celebrating—the same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for nearly 10 years.

Rather than take part in an event that violates her faith, Stutzman referred Robert Ingersoll, whom she considers a friend, to several nearby florists. The two then discussed his wedding plans, they hugged, and Ingersoll left. He never filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office. The attorney general chose to pursue Stutzman because of news reports based on social media posts.

Washington’s highest court confined the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision by saying that the U.S. Supreme Court’s condemnation of government hostility toward religion applies only to “adjudicatory bodies” and does not apply to executive-branch officials like the Washington attorney general. As ADF attorneys explain in their reply brief in Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington and Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll, other court decisions take the opposite approach.

The Washington court’s ruling also conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court and other court precedents by allowing the government to force individuals to participate in sacred ceremonies that violate their faith and by empowering state officials to compel artists to create custom work celebrating events to which they object. The brief explains that the state of Washington has failed to refute what recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra and Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, have to say about free speech and expression. The brief also reiterates that Washington’s ruling conflicts with other recent decisions, including Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix and Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, that protect the First Amendment freedoms of creative professionals.
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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Additional resources: Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington | Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll

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Monday, May 04, 2020

Previous news releases:

  • 2019-12-20: ADF to US Supreme Court: Washington court got it wrong, floral artist shouldn’t be forced to celebrate events that violate her faith
  • 2019-10-16: Broad support for floral artist’s freedom as case heads back to US Supreme Court
  • 2019-09-11: Floral artist asks US Supreme Court to protect her freedom
  • 2019-06-06: Floral artist heads back to US Supreme Court to protect her freedom
  • 2018-11-13: Floral artist to Washington Supreme Court: ‘I serve all customers; I just can’t celebrate all events’
  • 2018-06-25: US Supreme Court sends floral artist case back to Washington court in light of Masterpiece decision
  • 2018-06-05: ADF, floral artist respond to Washington AG regarding impact of Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling
  • 2017-08-22: Broad support for artistic freedom reflected in numerous briefs at Supreme Court
  • 2017-07-14: Washington floral artist asks US Supreme Court to protect her freedom
  • 2017-02-16: Washington floral artist to ask US Supreme Court to protect her freedom
  • 2017-02-16: Washington Supreme Court to issue decision Thursday in floral artist case
  • 2016-09-14: Floral artist to Washington Supreme Court: Protect my artistic freedom
  • 2016-09-30: Support for floral artist at full bloom
  • 2016-03-03: Washington Supreme Court will hear case over floral artist’s freedom
  • 2016-02-08: Washington floral artist’s freedom firmly rooted in federal, state constitutional law
  • 2015-08-10: ADF to Wash. council: Religious freedom resolution protects business owners
  • 2015-06-01: Wash. grandmother’s home, livelihood, freedom at stake
  • 2015-04-28: ADF asks Washington Supreme Court to review floral artist’s case
  • 2015-03-27: Wash. floral artist’s home, savings still at risk after court judgment
  • 2015-02-20: Floral artist responds to Wash. attorney general's settlement offer
  • 2015-02-18: Wash. floral artist’s home, savings at risk of state seizure after court ruling
  • 2014-12-18: Wash. grandmother’s religious freedom, livelihood at stake
  • 2014-12-04: State AG targets Wash. grandmother’s religious freedom and personal assets
  • 2013-10-28: Florist to court: Dismiss Wash. AG's attack on religious freedom
  • 2013-05-21: Wash. florist answers ACLU lawsuit
  • 2013-05-16: Wash. florist will not wilt, sues AG to reclaim religious freedom

  • Barronelle Stutzman: Washington state flower shop owner forced to worry about more than COVID-19 pandemic (Washington Examiner, 2020-05-04)
  • Kristen Waggoner: How do we weigh a floral designer’s dignity and freedom against state coercion? (Religion News Service, 2020-03-18)
  • Kyle Hawkins: Philadelphia case shouldn’t stop Supreme Court from taking floral artist case (The Hill, 2020-03-05)
  • Jack Phillips: Florist Barronelle Stutzman deserves another chance at justice (Fox News, 2020-01-16)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Justices should use florist case to settle free speech issues (Law360, 2019-11-20)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Christian florist: My longtime customer was a friend, then he sued me over his gay wedding (USA Today, 2019-10-08)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Your religious liberty is in danger if I lose mine in a same-sex wedding court case (Fox News, 2019-09-28)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Why Barronelle Stutzman’s case might resolve questions left open in Masterpiece Cakeshop (National Review, 2019-09-17)
  • Jake Warner: Washington state is ignoring Supreme Court precedent—and mistreating Christians (Daily Caller, 2019-09-13)
  • John Bursch: How Masterpiece Cakeshop fell short (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-20)
  • John Bursch: Washington state may have triggered the next major religious liberty case (Daily Signal, 2019-06-12)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Floral artist has good reason to head back to Supreme Court (Washington Examiner, 2019-06-11)
  • Jonathan Scruggs: Arlene’s Flowers case no way to settle disputes (Tri-City Herald, 2018-12-10)
  • James Gottry: Washington state, ACLU aren’t letting up in crusade against florist’s religious liberty (Daily Signal, 2018-11-15)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: My state turned my life upside down because of my religious beliefs (Gospel Coalition, 2018-07-02)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Washington state florist: My life has been turned upside down because of my religious beliefs (Fox News, 2018-06-29)
  • Chris Potts: Here’s why the florist and the baker aren’t like the Red Hen’s owner (PoliZette, 2018-06-28)
  • Jessica Prol Smith: A tale of two business owners (Daily Wire, 2018-06-27)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Floral artist faced same intolerance as Jack Phillips (National Review, 2018-06-25)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: All we ask is for the freedom to live out our beliefs (USA Today, 2018-02-25)
  • James Gottry: LGBT ideology could cost a 72-year-old florist everything (The Daily Caller, 2017-08-09)
  • Jim Campbell: Barronelle Stutzman shows sexual orientation laws treat religious people like racists (The Federalist, 2017-02-27)
  • Jim Campbell: Will court ruling against Christian florist prompt Trump to action on religious freedom? (CNS News, 2017-02-24)
  • Jim Campbell: Arguments separating fashion designers from other artists aren’t worthy of the runway (National Review, 2017-01-23)
  • Jim Campbell: Artists’ free speech rights at stake in Washington florist case (Daily Signal, 2016-11-29)
  • Kristen Waggoner and Rory Gray: When do ‘state messages’ trump free speech? (Seattle Times, 2016-11-23)
  • Jim Campbell: Liberal logic on designer who won’t dress Melania: Conscience rights for me but not for thee (CNS News, 2016-11-21)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: My case should concern everyone (Spokesman-Review, 2016-11-12)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Florist: LGBT rights law could destroy my business (Indianapolis Star, 2016-01-27)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Why a friend is suing me: the Arlene’s Flowers story (Seattle Times, 2015-11-09)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: Arlene’s Flowers owner disappointed with editorial (Tri-City Herald, 2015-07-21)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: I’m a florist, but I refused to do flowers for my gay friend’s wedding (Washington Post, 2015-05-12)


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