Ruling: Owner of Arlene’s Flowers Can Be Personally Liable

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Yesterday, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Eckstrom ruled that Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, can be held personally liable in lawsuits that resulted from Arlene’s Flowers decision not to decorate for a same-sex ceremony.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the first lawsuit against the Richland grandmother but a second lawsuit was later filed by the ACLU on behalf of the customers. The lawsuits were brought not only against Arlene’s Flowers but also against Barronelle Stutzman personally.

Lawyers for Mrs. Stutzman had argued that it was inappropriate to sue her personally because it was a decision made in the operation of her business, but Judge Eckstrom disagreed.

As a result of this decision, the government can go after both the business assets of Arlene’s Flowers and personal assets of Barronelle Stutzman to collect attorney’s fees should their lawsuits prevail.

Responding to the ruling, Kristen Waggoner, an Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney for Barronelle Stutzman and Arlene’s Flowers said, “In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment.  The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: dare to disagree with the government, and you put your home, your family business, and your life savings at risk.”

Judge Eckstrom is expected to rule on a summary judgment motion in the next week.

Trial is currently scheduled for March 23rd.

The narrow question of personal liability in a specific lawsuit is not itself a conspiracy against conscience rights and religious freedom.

However, there is little doubt that the government’s ability to go after the personal assets of business owners who prefer not to be part of certain events will continue to chill the free exercise of religion that until recently was celebrated and protected in America.

Whatever the outcome of this specific case, the real solution is a state legislature that respects a marketplace of ideas that makes room for people of different backgrounds, faiths, and perspectives.

But the legislature won’t act unless the public insists on it.

If you are concerned that the government is suing grandmothers because of their beliefs about marriage and sexuality, please contact your state legislators and ask them to support protections for conscience rights and religious freedom. Then encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Every American is guaranteed the freedom to live and work faithfully.

The Washington State Attorney General is working hard to change that.

Don’t let him win.

40 replies
  1. steve land
    steve land says:

    Anyone here that dares to call themselves a Christian believer, should remember one thing; they are judged by their fruits, not what kind of church they are affiliated with! I grew up as Lutheran, but that does not make me a Lutheran, or a Christian believer for that matter. THAT will be determined by the life I led and the people I loved, not by my own strength, but by God’s presence in my life – and my willingness to subject myself to the laws of God. One of God’s requirement of Christian believers is that we respect the laws of the society in which we live. And that we pray for our leaders, regardless of how little we like them. However, God also expect that we are loyal to Him – first! When the pharisees attempted to trick Jesus by a question regarding taxes, He said after producing a coin from the mouth of a fish, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what belongs to God.” It should be obvious for us that adhere to the Christian faith that God is sovereign – above all governments! Thus we, as Christian believers, and I am not referring to Sunday churchgoers, socialites etc., should understand that our loyalty is to God first – before government! Which means that if any government produces laws that are going against the laws of God, it should be a fairly clear cut choice with which we are faced – obey God! It is called in modern terms, civil disobedience.
    Personally I was drawn to this story through reading the news article, and I am very encouraged to see that there still are true Christians around, that still love God – come hell or high water! Mrs Stutzman is a shining example to the rest of us! She reminds me of the three men in the time of Daniel that were faced with certain death, unless they gave up their faith in God Jehovah. They did NOT relent, and even though they were thrown in the fire, God saved them from the flames – because He is faithful to them! And He wants us to learn to be faithful to Him! Loyalty!
    I would like to make this statement about this “Lutheran” and any other “Christian” that so eagerly support our “run-away goverment”; you will most likely be the first to advocate for other Christians to take the mark of the Beast if you happened to be around during that time, and you would feel that would be absolutely legally thecorrect thing to do! Am I correct or not? Perhaps you should think about were your loyalties are at this time…… You are playing with fire!
    Unless Oshur turn

  2. Saint John the Baptist
    Saint John the Baptist says:

    Fellow Christians: Instead of attempting to educate the clueless on U.S. history (DocReits) or the fascists who want citizens to grovel under the boot heel of oppressive government (Oshtur; who claims to be a Lutheran but is NOT a Christian), let us redouble our efforts. Financially support the Family Policy Institute of Washington. Call your elective representatives. Pray for Washington state. Never forget our nation was founded by those who sought freedom to PRACTICE their religion.

  3. DocReits
    DocReits says:

    The problem, as I see it, is that this is not a religious “rights” issue. It is a “legal” issue. The owner sees herself being asked to perform a service for an individual who is engaged in a sinful lifestyle according to her religious beliefs. It is not a different religious belief she is opposed to, it is a sinful lifestyle she objects to. She would feel the same way if she was asked to service a wedding of polygamists or thieves, I am sure. She would not want to participate in that which was sinful.

    The distinction, in this case, is that gay marriage is legal in WA state, unlike polygamy, for example, which is not. So the state is involved here because of the “legal” issue of the florist refusing service to a customer who is engaged in a legitimate ceremony, sanctioned by the state. Don’t misunderstand, I personally am a Christian and think the state erred in granting marriage to gays, which is another issue. This issue is a legal one…not religious.

    BTW, there was also confusion by other writers regarding this nation’s religious heritage. Did you know that our US Constitution never mentions anything about God? Did you ever stop to ponder that all governments are Theocracies. Whoever makes the Rules(Laws) are they who the people must obey. Monarchies have the King as god, Communist countries have the state as god, Socialist countries have secular humanism as their god.

    Who does America have as their god? Once again, the founder’s god was who they gave the authority to establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility. The Pilgrims used the Bible as their charter for Law, and they had Jehovah as their God. The Preamble to our US Constitution tells us who our god is….”We The People”. So don’t be surprised that Christians are not allowed to exert their religious beliefs in the public workplace. Our laws, in this country, are base upon the “will of the people”, not God. And so…. “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you”(1 Pet 4:12).


    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      A good reply Doc but this isn’t because of the civil contract titled ‘marriage’ being available – this same situation would have happened if it hadn’t.

      Again, a public accommodation can’t offer things that it thinks require a religious litmus test to buy, the customer’s right to religious freedom – their right to their own creed – protects them from a requirement they must meet a religious standard they don’t necessarily share.

      But again, it seems that Ms Stutzman has seen the light in this regard. Going to Arelene’s Flowers website I seen no mention of wedding-specific services anymore. So she should have accepted the AG’s merciful deal to drop the case in exchange for a promise to operate the business legally in the future and just remove all ‘religious test’ requiring services from the offerings.

      It appears Arlene’s Flower is now compliant with the law, but will now have to go through with this financially risky case because of her ill considered alliance with the ADF.

      Again, a private club or non-profit could religiously discriminate in services offered – why oh why don’t they bother to just obey the constitution AND have their cake for the eating?

      • Joseph Backholm
        Joseph Backholm says:

        The “religious test” thing you keep referring to is strange. There is no evidence that she requires people to share her religious beliefs in order to do business with them. This is an event that she doesn’t want to be part of. It’s not complicated.

        And what you refer to as “seeing the light” regarding providing wedding services is actually the result of bullying. She’s trying to minimize her legal liability given the government’s strong arm tactics.

        • Oshtur
          Oshtur says:

          That you can’t see the religious test is what’s strange. A customer comes in obviously with a belief that includes same sex marriage, and the customer was rejected because of that. That’s a failing a religious test obviously since the employee made it clear it was because the customer didn’t share their beliefs about marriage that they were being rejected.

          And expecting someone to obey the law is hardly ‘bullying’. This person is taking a ‘stand’ or they aren’t – yet another case of ‘pick one’.

    • Nick Deacy
      Nick Deacy says:

      By DocReits’ view, we’re to accept the State’s right to prosecute Arlene’s owner because it’s legal. I’m glad our Founding Fathers didn’t see such the same.

  4. Andy
    Andy says:


    What don’t you get about the fact that Barronelle spared her employees from getting involved in a transaction that took an ugly turn when militant gays and the ACLU seized the moment and started spinning tales? Like spoiled brats, gay activists of this sort demand attention and sympathy and insist on getting their way, no matter what. “I want a cookie, and I want it now! If I don’t get it, I’ll make you pay!!!” Childishness at its worst. . .

    Please go down to Westlake and hang out with the latest group of protestors, Oshtur. Clearly, you don’t recognize the meaning of having a conscience nor do you get it that Barronelle shouldn’t be required to jump through whatever hoops a customer may decide. This is absurd. If a group of wiccans asked a florist to dress in black and deliver a bunch of thorny roses and poisonous plants at a witchcraft event, according to your way of thinking, he/ she would have to do it. You have nothing more to contribute to the conversation except repeating yourself, very poorly, I might add.

    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Andy , its is Ms Stutzman acting like a ‘spoiled brat’ thinking that she can reject customers because they don’t pass her religious test. Right advertise to the public and then when it comes it say ‘Oh we don’t sell this to people like you’.

      And as for the ad hominem and slander, its becoming clear that is all your side really has – you can’t discuss the subject rationally so you toss out red herrings and deceit. And I bet you even think that’s what a good Christian does, don’t you?

  5. Paris
    Paris says:

    All I can say is judgement is coming on these wicked and unjust judges.
    Just as Israel of old was judged in part because the judges of the time pervert justice and called evil good and good evil (Very much the case of Mr Ferguson and this judge.)
    I always have to be reminded of the passage in the Psalms that David wrote: “My feet had almost slipped… when I considered the wicked and how they prospered…Until I came in to the sanctuary of the Lord and then I perceived their end. Behold thou hast put them in a slippery place and their end is destruction.”

    Though we are saddened to see evil men continuing to win and persecute Christians, and unjust judges continuing to rule in favor of wickedness. Remember that God sees and judgement is coming. The victory is ours and this earth is not our home. Thanks goodness!

  6. B
    B says:

    You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of Harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I – it” relationship for an “I – thou” and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus is it that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
    Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.
    Let me give you another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
    Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
    I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
    Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
    Marriage between a man and a woman (male to female) is one such principle “dear to the Christian faith”. Supporter and advocates of same-sex orientation have successfully clouded the issue by making it political. Terms like “marriage equality”; “discrimination”; “fairness”; “right to marry whomever you love” has gained sufficient mileage for sympathetic ears, only because these terms were paramount to the civil rights struggle. The erroneous framing of the issue HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A REPULICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. The Christian way of life has never been nor should it ever be an arm of the political system in charge for the moment. Should todays Christians just roll over and take these new “unjust laws” or fight to the death to preserve mankind as God intended? No! You should WATCH God’s awesome power as only he can deal with this situation. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has amassed much data on the effects of same-sex relationships which goes right to the heart of attempting to defy God’s plan for mankind – the consequences are built in. It is not pretty, and yet, main media hosts fail miserably to warn citizens of the danger of such abominable relationships. Remember those of you who can; how long it took for society to condemn the detrimental effects of voluntarily inhaling burnt tobacco into your lungs? Many citizens suffered through being bombarded with commercials glamorizing the process as swave, cool, or outright acceptable healthy behavior.
    Many special people left this earth too soon because of the ill effects of their uninformed choices made from targeted advertisements, as well as being victimized by the enforcement of unjust laws. Don’t be one of them. Before exercising your right to choose – get as much information as you can on the subject and get help from objective sources to help you weigh the information for toxicity.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. jb abndrews
    jb abndrews says:

    The Gays don’t care what damage they do to the culture ! Its time to push back at these perverts before they finish us off with diseases and evil ways!

    • BillG
      BillG says:

      Thanks for clarifying jb. This has never been about religious liberty; it’s about the fact that you hate queers. You’d better get used to us. We are your children, your siblings, your neighbors and your co-workers and we’re not going back into the closet. Equality only marches forward.

  8. Joan Dow
    Joan Dow says:

    What about signs in retail doorways like “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Or “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Are those illegal?

    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      More simplistic – what you wear is not a protected class unless intimately associated with one, how did Justice Scalia put it “a rule against yamakas is a rule against Jews”.

      And yes any individual possible could be denied service but NOT for any reason. A customer can not be rejected because they don’t pass an illegal religious test imposed by someone at the business as in this case.

    • Mick
      Mick says:

      I see your point Joan . I myself would not have this bother my conscience . Not sure why we are different , both share the same faith . But I would see it as an opportunity myself to share my service with the Christian belief that is the center of it . But your point is well made , even those who give massages have a right not to go to a home if the residence gives them an “uneasy ” feeling that makes them uncomfortable . Being part of a ceremony that goes against the covenant set in scriptures , the cornerstone of civilization in western civilization , plus a covenant used by Christ Himself and the OT and NT writers to draw imagery of the church and Christ . One time Judges would have understood this . Today not so much ,. Regardless religious beliefs are considered secondary , I support this organization, more Christians should , in fact all those concerned about civil rights , straight , gay , atheist or whatever who are concerned about civil rights should .

      • Julianna
        Julianna says:

        Homosexuality is not a civil rights issue.

        Mrs. Baronelle was not cruel or demeaning. She did not refuse service to the two men, she just refused to create her art for the idea of their breaking her God’s heart. (She had sold them flowers for 3-4 years prior, knowing their lifestyle choice.)
        MATRIMONY to Biblical Christians is SACRED! Our own Lord refers to Himself as our Bridegroom and we His Church as His Beloved Bride.

        She was never rude! She is a kind wonderful sweet grandmother.
        Thomas Jefferson
        3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
        “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
        –Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.
        “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
        –The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385

    NANCY KASPER says:

    Live and learn indeed, Oshtur. Your smug remarks are arrogant and reveal the thoughts of a person whose basis for knowledge is hearsay and opinion, not facts. Barronelle Stutzman has earned our admiration for conducting a thoughtful, purposeful life, honoring all those she encounters with goodwill and enhancing memorable occasions for her customers with her floral artistry. She is a gentle soul with a kind heart. To tell her that she must shape her business to accommodate your standards and become a slave to those who want her to do their bidding as they dictate is an insult. Your wrath on her is undeserved and appalling. What gives you the authority to judge? It appears that you are one of those who falsely believes that in America, secular humanism must now rule law and government, and that the rights of bullies trump those of the individual committed to higher ideals. As a non-Christian, you lack an understanding of what it means to submit to a sovereign God who is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Those who follow Christ are honest and humble enough to acknowledge and confess that as human beings they fall short of righteousness. Are you capable of doing this? Barronelle has secured her place in heaven by thanking God for what Jesus suffered on the cross in atonement for her sin. You cannot take that away from her, Oshtur. Have you ever sought out forgiveness from the One who gave you life or are you perfect and a god unto yourself? Barronelle has conducted herself with the highest level of integrity throughout this whole ordeal. Her benevolence toward the very men who are now taking action against her has been inspiring and unwavering. Tell me, do you have the character and integrity to treat Barronelle with respect? Could you demonstrate how you have done this? Please spend some time alone and think about the hatred that poisons your existence. Then go about the task of researching the facts of this case. Barronelle has done nothing wrong but was setup by evildoers to push their agenda to strip Christians of the very rights that they themselves (the evildoers) insist upon. Reflect, Oshtur, and be quiet so you can “hear” voices other than your own.

    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Please, if Barronelle was a bible believing Christian she would have sold the arrangements as advertised. But that is besides the point, this is America where all have a right to their own religious freedom.

      Your self-righteous demagoguery aside, this is about a business owner who knowingly broke the law, ignored the constitutional religious freedom of both employees and customers, and decided to put their beliefs above everyone else involved ignoring their right to religious freedom while parading hers, basically behaving as the anti-American.

      God is not pleased with those who walk in the footsteps of the Pharisees like Barronelle, we know this, and their salvation will depend on much Grace, just as we all do.

      if she sincerely feels she can’t sell something to people of other beliefs then she shouldn’t have offered it for sale to the general public – despite your wish to the contrary there has never been a right to religious discrimination – each person’s right to religious freedom shields them from it. Again, if somehow this does carve out a new right to religious discrimination it will mean the end of religious freedom faster than you can obviously conceive.

      • Paris
        Paris says:

        So Oshtur,
        What do you really believe. I should come to your place of business and demand you attend me with your services for whatever you firmly believe is wrong and want no part.
        You would no be in her shoes. It’s obvious you have no desire to walk in them. Nor would you want to!
        You want to have total freedom of conscience but only if its in what you agree with. To others its denied. You call those who believe the literal words of the Bible discriminatory yet you would discriminate against us because of what we believe.

        You can’t have it both ways. You point the finger yet never stop to realize by your own words you condemn yourself as being an even bigger discriminator. You can have your opinion. But your logic and argument is that I can’t have mine.

        Continue down this road and soon the government that you think is so great will come to take away your rights against your will. I suggest you start standing up for others now before you lose your too.

        • Oshtur
          Oshtur says:

          Exactly what would that be at my place if business? I assure you that I offer nothing at my business for sale that requires a religious litmus test to buy – making such an offer as a public accommodation would be illegal, unconstitutional an immoral.

          This is about a business wanting to establish a right to religious discriminate in while doing business with the general public, something no good American would want to do. No one forced this business to offer items that it thought required a religious test to buy, the owner knew full well that religious discrimination was illegal from the first day they opened their doors.

          There is no ‘wanting both ways’, this is about all businesses not acting illegally and unconstitutionally.

    • Mick
      Mick says:

      Nancy Oshtur is bitter , losing a mate , and seeing hate as a mechanism to see himself as being alive . I have learned to ignore him . He blogged for years , I mean years at the Faith and Freedom Foundation . Attacking any view held by a Christian , he is not concerned about gay rights , he is concerned about any view a Christian may have to be able to promote a inferior reason for that Christian to hold it , may it be science , morality , civics or whatever . I would actually consider praying for the man . The fact he shows up here being the same troll is quite telling .

      • Oshtur
        Oshtur says:

        tell all the lies you want Mick, I have come to realize that is really all you have. I was on the Faith and Freedom blog because it was trying to prevent marriage equality through deception and lies, and I am more than willing to point out these lies each and every time they happen.

        I have nothing against Christianity, I’m a Lutheran for goodness sake! But people taking the name and acting like the Pharisees, yeah that is really annoying and I will point that out when it happens too.

        Take your lies and slander and maybe review the lists we have of the things God hates – or are you trying to commit them all in a single blog entry?

    • Julianna
      Julianna says:

      “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.” – Thomas Jefferson (First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801)
      All 55 delegates who participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 are regarded as Founding Fathers, in fact, they are often regarded as the Founding Fathers because it is this group that actually debated, drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution, which is the basis for the country’s political and legal system.
      Religious Affiliation breakdown:
      Episcopalian/Anglican 88 54.7%
      Presbyterian 30 18.6%
      Congregationalist 27 16.8%
      Quaker 7 4.3%
      Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 3.7%
      Lutheran 5 3.1%
      Catholic 3 1.9%
      Huguenot 3 1.9%
      Unitarian 3 1.9%
      Methodist 2 1.2%
      Calvinist 1 0.6%
      NONE would have thought two people of the SAME sex should ever EVER consider themselves able to share matrimony vows.

  10. Linda "Lady Liberty" Brauneis
    Linda "Lady Liberty" Brauneis says:

    Benjamin Franklin wrote, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” and Abraham Lincoln echoed, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
    Mrs. Stutzman is in fine company for standing up for her First Amendment rights of freedom in religion and speech. Our Founding Fathers would be proud to stand alongside her convictions. That is why they challenged the arrogance of King George and his edicts.
    Stay-the-course Mrs. Stutzman. I am very inspired by you!

      • Julianna
        Julianna says:

        “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.
        “That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.
        “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see;
        “But I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive, that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.”
        –Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.

        We have the right to honor our God above our government.
        Government is to also be under the God’s hierarchy of laws.

  11. Oshtur
    Oshtur says:

    Again it would be constitutionally impossible to allow religious discrimination, the Washington state constitution specifically says that liberty of conscience is not an excuse to act without regard for the rights of others, in this case the customer’s right to NOT share the creed of anyone at the business and still do business with them.

    Don’t make offers that require an illegal test, it was the owner’s instructions to the business that made that invitation to do business fraudulent that opened the owner to personal litigation under state Consumer Protection Act. Can’t make the corporation run illegally and still protect the source of that illegal action from actionability.

    I do see that there is no mention of wedding products on the Arlene’s Flowers website – which is the best solution. Too bad she got tangled up with the ADF – she could have taken the AG’s deal, promised to run her business legally in the future and then done just what she has done – removed wedding specific services from the public offerings.

    Live and learn I guess.

    • Joseph Backholm
      Joseph Backholm says:

      If the non-discrimination law requires people to violate their faith as a condition of being in business (as you appear to believe), it is the non-discrimination law that is illegal, not Barronelle Stutzman’s decision not to be part of this particular event.

      The fact that she does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation has been demonstrated by the fact that she happily served the people who are now suing her for 9 years knowing they were in a same-sex relationship.

      The First Amendment that guarantees the free exercise of religion and that doesn’t simply mean you have the right to attend church if you want. It extends to the civil arena as well. The Washington State legislature does not have the authority to repeal the First Amendment and if they tried they are the ones who are acting outside the law.

      • Oshtur
        Oshtur says:

        Come on Joseph, you know that discrimination is about any advertised service – you can no more say Arlene’s Flowers didn’t discriminate because they would sell the customer other stuff than the lunch counter could say they would serve blacks but only at the tables in the back room. It says that right in the RCW.

        And yes the customers have a right to religious freedom and if the business didn’t want to sell a product to customers of all beliefs – even those that believe in same sex marriage – they wouldn’t have advertised the service to the general public knowing full well that religious discrimination against customers has been unconstitutional in Washington state since its formation and illegal since the first rendition of the Civil Rights statutes in 1949.

        No the first amendment doesn’t give anyone the right to treat a customer as if they shared anyone at the businesses creed – their own right to their own creed shields them from such licentious acts as is clearly spelled out in our state constitution.

        But its clear you don’t want to acknowledge the customer’s right to religious freedom here, or even the right of the other employees of Arlene’s Flowers. We know there were ones that would have happily filled this order Ms Stutzman need have had nothing to do with it. No one person, the business owner, decided to tell employees to treat customer’s illegally and unconstitutionally and it is that act that opened the owner up to personal liability.

        Why did Ms Stutzman even offer something for sale where the customer had to pass a religious test to ‘qualify’ to buy it? She must have know that was illegal, that the customer’s right to their own religious beliefs would shield them from such things. As the federal Supreme Court has ruled many times and our own state constitution says – the excuse of religious conscience isn’t a carte blanch that can let a citizen effectively do anything they want. The business offered the service to the general public, members of that general public can buy it regardless of their creed, even when it includes same sex marriage.

        Either Arlene’s Flowers sells wedding arrangements or it doesn’t – pick one.

      • Mick
        Mick says:

        Thanks Joseph, always enjoy your ability to go to the point . Obviously there was a business relationship and more here that went beyond just religion and orientation . In fact I can see the hurt from both sides . One the gay couple wanting their florist to be involved in the happy event , wanting to share the happiness , the other side hoping they would not have to hurt the feelings . The fact so many think its always easy or abundantly joyful to hold to your convictions and beliefs when the culture and those with the self righteous pitchforks attacking you makes me wonder how the left can be this abusive at times . The use of this issue here as a statement is clear here . Religious beliefs take a back seat , basic beliefs that have been acceptable in the laws and culture in this country since its beginning are no longer .

        Oshtur had blogged on other religious organizations and takes the human element out of those with a Faith In God . Portrays them as bigots , ignorant in the field of science and attempts to make them seen that way . The very fact that making some feel uncomfortable because it violates their faith is totally un important to him since he sees the value of that person in the way the court is attempting to claim the Florist is . He sees them as a group .without merit or deserving of respect .

    • Paris
      Paris says:

      Turn it around.
      So by your standard then Arlene’s should be the one aggrieved and the government should be suing the homosexuals for violating her rights, and demanding she submitted to their wishes!

      By your own statement you are condemned. “the Washington state constitution specifically says that liberty of conscience is not an excuse to act without regard for the rights of others”
      So what about her rights, this is where you completely miss the boat. One want it only one way.

      That is really what this fight is all about. AND BTW the so called DEAL offered was about as offensive as they come. Basically submit to my deciding how you should act, think, and live. OR ELSE.

      That is not even a deal you would have taken!

      • Oshtur
        Oshtur says:

        Paris, you are bright enough to type, you are bright enough to know that Arlene’s Flowers at that time freely advertised the availability of wedding floral services. The business freely chose to associate with the general public knowing full well each and every member had a constitutional right NOT to share the beliefs of anyone at the business.

        And that is the issue, the business chose to associate with those of every possible faith, too late after the fact to whip out a religious litmus test.

        And if a condition to operate legally is offensive I guess that makes you some flavor of anarchist. We are a nation of laws and at this moment it seems that Arlene’s Flowers is operating legally, they have removed weddings from their list of services. See how easy that was to operate legally? Just don’t offer things that require religious discrimination for sale.

        And that’s the irony, Ms Stutzman could have accepted the AG’s offer, done exactly what she is doing now with the business, and be running legally with no risk of financial loss at all. But her pride and hubris prevented her and now she is in a bed completely of her own making.

  12. Lois Sharpe
    Lois Sharpe says:

    It all boils down to the fact that our Country has become more and more anti-Christ and wants to do away with Christianity (with the help of other religions). We cannot agree with anything or anyone that goes against God’s
    word because we know that hell is a real place just as Heaven is a real place and we choose Heaven when we leave this life. Others have a right to go to Hell if they desire but shouldn’t try to make Christians go there with them.
    Just because they choose to believe that place doesn’t exist, does not make it any degree less hot.

    • Paris
      Paris says:

      More simply a sign of the times. As the scripture says:
      All those who desire to live godly will be persecuted.
      Because Christians actually stand for something, the darkness always hates the light, because it exposes their sin. So when you let you light shine expect the hate to follow.

      We truly live in a wicked generation. We just have to remember that God is the one who is in control, and though we don’t see it now, judgement is coming.


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  1. […] will also target  Stutzman’s personal property, savings and assets. According to a new report from the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ackstrom ruled that her personal assets can be […]

  2. […] to a new report from the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ackstrom ruled on Thursday that her personal assets can be […]

  3. […] to a new report from the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ackstrom ruled on Thursday that her personal assets can be […]

  4. […] From The Family Policy Institute of Washington […]

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