Once again, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
The case involves Barronelle Stutzman, who, in 2013, refused to provide flowers for the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed even though gay marriage was legal in the state. She was fined $1,000 and told she couldn’t discriminate against her customers. So she sued.
Last summer, the Supreme Court punted on taking up the case after the same Washington Supreme Court unanimously ruled against her. At the time, they said selling flowers for a gay wedding was no less an endorsement of homosexuality than flowers for an Islamic or atheist wedding. Stutzman even admitted that herself! If you have no problem selling goods to atheists or divorced people, they essentially argued, then there should be no reason you refuse to do business with gay customers.
Despite not taking up the case themselves, the Supreme Court threw out that ruling and sent the case back to Washington with the instructions to reconsider it in light of the SCOTUS ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop. In that case, involving a Christian baker who didn’t want to provide a cake for a gay wedding, the justices said a Colorado commission overstepped its bounds in punishing him, though they didn’t rule on the general substance of his bigotry. So their instructions to the Washington judges was to reconsider if state officials exhibited any anti-religious bias in their decision.
Thursday’s opinion says that neither the Washington Supreme Court or the lower state court acted with religious animus when they ruled the florist violated the state’s law against discrimination. The opinion says that Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers to the same-sex couple constituted discrimination against sexual orientation.
Her lawyers say they’ll appeal once again to the Supreme Court. Because the right for Christians to discriminate against gay people is the true fight of their religious freedom.
The ruling says the process was fair and that Stutzman was just being a flat-out bigot. She refused to sell a gay customer the very same thing she would’ve sold a straight one. It’s not like the customer was asking for special gay flowers spelling out the words “Homosexuality is the best!” Had he not been gay, he would’ve received the products he wanted to pay for. It’s as simple as that.
But good luck explaining that to her attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom:
“Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs,” said [ADF Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John] Bursch. “Despite that, the state of Washington has been openly hostile toward Barronelle’s religious beliefs about marriage, and now the Washington Supreme Court has given the state a pass. We look forward to taking Barronelle’s case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
How dare the state be intolerant of her intolerance?!
There’s no hostility involved. Stutzman thought her religion gave her the right to treat certain customers differently. Washington State says that’s not allowed. The case was always clear-cut. Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to affirm the ruling or ignore it and leave it in place.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Portions of this article were published earlier)