Supreme Court Refuses Case of Christian Florist, Fined Over
WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court won’t hear the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian
florist who was fined for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
Instead, the high court is ordering the Washington Supreme Court to take a fresh look at the case.
Stutzman has always maintained she was exercising her First Amendment rights when she refused
to provide flowers for a gay wedding, explaining it goes against her Christian beliefs.
The couple, who had purchased flowers from Stutzman in the past, and state Attorney General
Bob Ferguson sued her and won. That ruling was then unanimously upheld by the state’s nine
supreme court justices.
“This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have
room to coexist,” Stutzman’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom,
said after the Washington state court’s 2017 ruling.
“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.”
“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,” she said. “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.”
This is the second time the Supreme Court has passed on the chance to decide whether business
owners can refuse to comply with anti-discrimination laws on religious grounds.
The justices also declined to fully address the matter when they ruled in favor of Colorado baker
Jack Phillips, who also declined to provide a same-sex wedding cake to a gay couple on the basis
of his Christian convictions.
In that case, the high court simply ruled on his behalf because the Colorado commission’s treatment
of Phillips “showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs
motivating his objection.”
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports it’s unclear whether or not the Washington Supreme Court
will view Stutzman’s case any differently in light of the Colorado decision.