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

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Description:  Barronelle Stutzman, the sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, has for her entire career served and employed people who identify as homosexual. Despite this, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington attorney general allege that she is guilty of unlawful discrimination because she acted consistent with her faith and declined to use her creative skills to design floral arrangements for the same-sex ceremony of a long-time customer, Robert Ingersoll, and another man, Curt Freed.


US Supreme Court sends floral artist case back to Washington court in light of Masterpiece decision

ADF attorneys represent Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers
Monday, June 25, 2018

 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case of floral artist Barronelle Stutzman back to the Washington Supreme Court Monday, after vacating that court’s decision and instructing it to reconsider her lawsuit in light of the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In that similar case, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Colorado’s decision to punish cake artist Jack Phillips for living and working consistently with his religious beliefs about marriage, just as Stutzman has also been trying to do while under legal attack by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union. The two sued Stutzman after she declined, because of her faith, to design custom floral arrangements celebrating the same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for nearly 10 years. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent both Stutzman and Phillips.

Audio of Monday’s media briefing featuring Stutzman and ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner is available here.

“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 Washington attorney general’s efforts to punish her because he dislikes her beliefs about marriage are as impermissible as Colorado’s attempt to punish Jack,” said Waggoner, who argued on Stutzman’s behalf before the Washington Supreme Court in 2016. Waggoner also argued for Phillips before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has rightfully asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider Barronelle’s case in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision,” Waggoner explained. “In that ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court denounced government hostility toward the religious beliefs about marriage held by creative professionals like Jack and Barronelle. The state of Washington, acting through its attorney general, has shown similar hostility here.”

Waggoner points out that Ferguson failed to prosecute a business that berated and discriminated against Christian customers. In contrast, however, Ferguson has steadfastly—and on his own initiative—pursued unprecedented measures to punish 73-year-old Stutzman not just in her capacity as a business owner but also in her personal capacity, threatening her personal assets, including her life savings. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling condemned those sorts of one-sided, discriminatory applications of the law against people of faith.

After Ferguson obtained a court order allowing him to collect on Stutzman’s personal assets, he publicized a letter offering to settle the case for $2,001. In exchange, he demanded that Stutzman give up her religious and artistic freedom. Stutzman responded, “It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important.” The ACLU hasn’t made any similar settlement offer.

The Washington Supreme Court later ruled in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers that Stutzman must pay penalties and attorneys’ fees for declining to design custom floral arrangements celebrating longtime customer Rob Ingersoll’s same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate, Stutzman referred Ingersoll, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area. The two continued to chat about the ceremony, they hugged, and Ingersoll left.

“Rob was my customer and friend for over nine years,” said Stutzman. “I knew he was gay, and it was never an issue. 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.”

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

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue
Monday, July 02, 2018

Previous news releases:

  • 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: 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


Commentary:
  • 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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