Floral artist targeted by Washington state for her religious beliefs to testify before WV committee

ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek, florist Barronelle Stutzman will address need to protect West Virginians from govt coercion
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WHO: ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek, Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman
WHAT: Testimony on West Virginia House Bill 4012
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 28 at 9:30 a.m. EST
WHERE: W.V. House Judiciary Committee, House Floor, State Capitol Complex, Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.V. – Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek and Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, whom ADF represents in court after she was sued for her beliefs, will testify before the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The two will address the benefits of the state’s proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 4012), modeled after the federal RFRA, which will ensure that courts have the power to appropriately weigh whether the government has impermissibly violated a person’s religious freedom.

“Every West Virginian should be free to live and work according to their faith without fear of being punished by the government,” said Fiedorek, who will be available for media interviews following her testimony. “HB 4012 ensures that every citizen gets a fair day in court when government intrudes on their basic freedoms, because no citizen should be left defenseless when government tries to force them to violate their core convictions. The bill protects every person’s freedom from government coercion, regardless of party, religion, race, or orientation.”

“People in creative professions regularly have to make decisions about where they lend their artistic talents and the events in which they will participate,” added Stutzman, whom the Washington attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union sued for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer’s same-sex ceremony. “For me, it’s never about the person who walks into the shop, but about the message I’m communicating when someone asks me to ‘say it with flowers.’ The government should respect everyone’s freedom, including our artistic freedom and core religious beliefs about marriage, and not force us to create expression that violates our conscience.”
  • Fact sheet: “Why Every State Needs a Religious Freedom Restoration Act”
  • Pronunciation guide: Fiedorek (Fuh-DOHR’-eck)

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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