SCOTUS Sends Florist Case Back

Jun 25, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case of floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, back to the Washington Supreme Court today 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.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a supplemental brief asking the Court to send the case back to consider the alleged religious bias that requires a reversal like in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. In that similar case, the 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 sincerely held religious beliefs, to design custom floral arrangements celebrating the same-sex “wedding” of a customer she had served for nearly 10 years. 

In contrast, AG Ferguson failed to prosecute a business that berated and discriminated against Christian customers. However, Ferguson has, 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. Stutzman’s personal assets, including her life savings, are at stake in this case. 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. In the Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, it condemned those one-sided, discriminatory applications of the law against people of faith.

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