WA Supreme Court’s Rules Against Arlene’s Flowers and First Amendment

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Though it wasn’t surprising, it is still disappointing.

Barronelle Stutzman is a florist in eastern Washington who told long-time customers that she could not decorate their same-sex wedding in 2013.

Despite the fact that she has employed people who identify as gay and is happy to sell flowers (including wedding flowers) to same-sex couples, she stated that she could not be the florist for their wedding because of her beliefs about marriage.

Washington State’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, initiated legal action against the grandmother, claiming that it was illegal for her to opt out of the event if she was willing to provide floral services for other weddings.

Today, in a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Washington State can force businesses owners to participate in events and communicate messages they object to as a matter of conscience.

This is a radical decision from an increasingly extremist Supreme Court that has also found reasons to find charter schools unconstitutional and claim jurisdiction over how the legislature funds education.

The implications of this ruling should be concerning to everyone in Washington State, regardless of how you feel about same-sex “marriage” or your willingness to provide professional services for causes you personally disagree with.

Until five years ago, it was widely understood that individuals could choose for themselves which causes or messages they supported.

The addition of sexual orientation to some state’s non-discrimination laws combined with the redefinition of marriage has triggered a signification change in how progressives view the First Amendment.

Non-discrimination laws—which were intended to prevent businesses from having signs that say “Whites Only,” “No Jews,” or “No Mexicans”—are now being interpreted to reach far beyond their original scope.

No one believes it is religious discrimination to decline to participate in an ISIS event, nor does anyone feel it is illegal racial discrimination to decline to participate in a white supremacist rally.

When it comes to sexual orientation, however, what constitutes “discrimination” has been widely expanded.  As a result of this ruling, if you are willing to decorate for any wedding, you must decorate for every wedding.

This is true even if you are happy to provide service to people who identify as gay in every other context.

It is truly unprecedented.

The good news is that Mrs. Stutzman is expected to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it is thought there is significantly more support for civil liberties.

The bad news is that she was sued in her personal capacity as well as her business capacity, which means she stands to lose her home, retirement, and business because of her convictions on this issue.

All people of good will should condemn this decision and do what they can to see that it does not stand.

This is not a gay or straight issue.  This is a freedom issue.

 

29 replies
  1. Carl Collicott
    Carl Collicott says:

    That a Trader May Refuse to Deal With Any Proposing Buyer.—Neither the Clayton Law nor the Sherman Law has changed the rule that a trader may reject the offer of a proposing buyer for any reason that appeals to him, whether it be because he does not like the buyer’s business methods or because of some personal difference. Great Atl. d Pac. Tea Co. v. Cream of Wheat Co., 227 F., 49. 5—877

    BARRONELLE STUTZMAM, was charged with violating the State’s CPA, antitrust law.

    Case cite below;
    LEGAL BACKGROUND;

    In the case of; STATE OF WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
    VS. ARLENE’S FLOWERS, INC., d/b/a ARLENE’S FLOWERS AND GIFTS, and BARRONELLE STUTZMAM
    II. LEGAL BACKGROUND
    The Consumer Protection Act (CPA)
    The CPA provides:
    [u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.
    RCW 19.86.010.
    “The AG must establish only three elements: “(1) an unfair or deceptive act or practice, (2) occurring in trade or commerce, and (3) public interest impact.” See RCW 19.86.080(1)”.
    The CPA does not restrict religious belief or target religious practice in any respect. The CPA’s purpose is “to complement the body of federal law governing restraints of trade, unfair competition and unfair deceptive and fraudulent acts or practices in order to protect the public and foster fair and honest competition.” RCW 19.86.920________________________________.
    The cited section above is from Title 15 USC, Foreign Trade and Commerce, section 52.
    Limited to Dissemination of false advertisements, in interstate commerce
    “The AG must establish only three elements: “(1) an unfair or deceptive act or practice, (2) occurring in trade or commerce, and (3) public interest impact.” See RCW 19.86.080(1)”.

    Title 15 U.S.C. section §52. Dissemination of false advertisements
    (b) Unfair or deceptive act or practice
    The dissemination or the causing to be disseminated of any *false advertisement within the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce within the meaning of section 45 of this title.

    Reply
  2. Bob Burke
    Bob Burke says:

    Her fine is $1,000 and all legal fees equal $1; that’s 50¢ for the state and 50¢ for the ACLU. Her religious prejudices don’t let her illegally discriminate against customers. She is now running her business both legally and according to her conscience, she should just pay the $1,001 and continue doing so.

    Reply
  3. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Do you think if a Muslim Florist was asked to perform a service for a gay couple, it would go this far? They murder gays in their countries. If a person walks into a Muslim deli and asks for ham and is told they won’t be served, is this not the same discrimination. This is absolutely an over reach of the liberal judges in Washington State. Sick and tired.

    Reply
  4. Sue
    Sue says:

    Good grief! So if people disagree with someone’s lifestyle… now they can be sued until they agree with it? Did they engaged couple postpone their wedding to force her to make the flowers for it?! I’m sure not, it’s just a political statement. What a shame. How can they live happily ever after knowing they’ve crossed a business that they themselves once thought had the best flowers around. What is happening to our country? This is NOT freedom..

    Reply
  5. Nathan
    Nathan says:

    What a terrible woman. If she chooses to openly reject people because of who they are, then she should just close her business. Simple as that. How would she like it if a business refused her service because of her beliefs or way of life.

    Reply
    • Carla
      Carla says:

      Then the time that it takes her to decorate for their wedding should also be spent with her in sharing HER life convictions with them too…. seems fair, open-minded.

      Reply
    • Steven P Williams
      Steven P Williams says:

      Becuase the righteous have been redeemed from this wicked and dying world and she is held to a higher standard than the puke fest that raises its head whenever truth is revealed…
      That’s why.

      Reply
    • Kendra
      Kendra says:

      Nathan, apparently you didn’t read the article. Not only has she been serving this gay couple with flowers for years, she also employees gay people. She just doesn’t believe in “gay marriage”. That is her right, to live out her faith as she sees fit. If that is how you feel, then what about the designers who refused to dress the first lady because of their political views. I guess they should loose their businesses also.

      Reply
      • ChristiansareHypocrites
        ChristiansareHypocrites says:

        That’s a silly argument. The last time you went to a wedding, did you think that the florists were “endorsing” a wedding? The Court asked Baronelle Stutzman if she had ever provided flowers for Muslim and atheist weddings and she said Yes. When the Court asked her if she endorsed Muslim and atheist weddings, she said No. In fact, over 20 years of service, the ONLY time she has ever declined service was for a same-sex wedding. This smells suspicious to anyone, come on. Plenty of other weddings she disagreed with she nevertheless catered flowers, but just this one she didn’t? Give me a break.

        Reply
  6. Bridget
    Bridget says:

    Mrs. Stutzman, and others, should have the right to choose her customers. But ONLY if her policies are plainly posted on her door, Then people like me, who don’t support anti-whatever beliefs can shop elsewhere. Fair?

    Reply
    • Susan Peterman
      Susan Peterman says:

      She was not rejecting them. She had done business with them before. SHE just did not want to have a part in a same sex wedding, which as a Christian violates God’s word! She was targeted to use as an example to punish for siding with God on this issue. I am so sorry for her and these godless politicians. It’s better to obey God than this world system.

      Reply
      • Barbara
        Barbara says:

        Galatians 5:19-21 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

        Christians are notorious for the cafeteria plan. You cannot choose to diss one group while serving others.

        Reply
        • Clark Kent
          Clark Kent says:

          She was not ‘dissing’ anyone. She was merely exercising her Constitutional RIGHT to the free EXERCISE of her religious beliefs. I see you have no clue as to the concept of individual rights per the Bill of Rights. Liberals are notorious for the cafeteria plan. You cannot choose to ignore one of the Bill of Rights while upholding the others.

          Reply

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