After much anticipation, the Washington State Supreme Court just handed down its decision on the case of Baronelle Stutzman.
The Court’s Decision in Baronelle Stutzman’s Case
Sadly, the Washington Supreme Court concluded that the government can force Baronelle to create art for events with which she disagrees. This is a grave injustice. The Court’s opinion is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist.
It’s wrong for the state to force people to support views about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.
Our nation has a long history of protecting the right to disagree. But the government and ACLU have put everything Baronelle owns at risk, including her business, her family’s savings, retirement funds, and home – because she disagrees with the state about marriage.
Baronelle Stuzman and Rob Ingersoll
What stared all of this? In 2012 Baronelle Stutzman declined to do flowers for the wedding of a long-time customer: Rob Ingersoll. She had created dozens of arrangements for Rob. On top of that, he was one of his favorite customers. But she could not use her artistic talents for one request—to create custom arrangements to celebrate his wedding (ADF Legal).
“Rob Ingersoll and I have been friends since very nearly the first time he walked into my shop all those years ago,” said Stutzman. “There was never an issue with his being gay, just as there hasn’t been with any of my other customers or employees. He just enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. But now the state is trying to use this case to force me to create artistic expression that violates my deepest beliefs and take away my life’s work and savings, which will also harm those who I employ. I’m not asking for anything that our Constitution hasn’t promised me and every other American: the right to create freely, and to live out my faith without fear of government punishment or interference.”
Action Needed To Protect Religious Expression
Furthermore, with rulings like this, it’s no wonder that so many people are calling on President Trump to sign an executive order to protect our religious freedom. Because that freedom is clearly at risk for Barronelle Stutzman and so many other Americans.
Barronelle will appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court because American’s don’t abandon their freedom when they operate a creative business. This is a fundamental freedom.