Arlene’s Flowers: Summary of Friday’s Hearing

On Friday afternoon, Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman were in court responding to lawsuits from the Attorney General and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for declining to decorate for a same-sex ceremony.

Supporters of Arlene’s Flowers file into the Benton County Courtroom

The courtroom was packed with members of the public, most of whom carried little red flowers indicating their support of Barronelle Stutzman and Arlene’s Flowers. Those who couldn’t fit inside the courtroom waited in the hallway and held signs outside the courthouse demonstrating their opposition to the lawsuit.

The court heard arguments on two separate motions, but no decision was made. Judge Alex Eckstrom promised a written decision but did not give a date.

The trial is scheduled to begin March 23rd.

Before every trial, lawyers file pre-trial motions that decide a variety of issues before a trial takes place, or, as in this case, could eliminate the need for a trial altogether.

Friday’s hearing involved two summary judgment motions from each side. A summary judgment motion is when one side essentially says, “judge you should rule in my favor now, we don’t even need a trial.”

The first motion was brought by Arlene’s Flower’s lawyers who argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the entire incident was essentially a miscommunication. During depositions, the customers stated that the only thing they wanted was to purchase twigs, sticks, flowers, and vases so they could decorate themselves. Mrs. Stutzman has stated consistently that if she had known that was all they wanted, she would happily have sold those things to the customers, and remains happy to do so in the future. But she was under the impression they wanted full wedding services, which she did not feel she could do.

The summary judgment motion brought by the government and ACLU argued that the judge should rule in favor of the state without a trial because by acknowledging that she is unwilling to provide full wedding services for same-sex ceremonies, Arlene’s Flowers has admitted discriminating based on sexual orientation.

In response, Arlene’s Flower’s argued that she did not and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. They cited the fact that she had a warm, friendly, customer relationship with the plaintiffs for nine years prior to the incident, while knowing they were in a same-sex relationship. They argued that her willingness to serve gay people generally, and even sell goods for a same-sex ceremony, indicates that she does not violate on the basis of sexual orientation, only that she is unwilling to celebrate a same-sex ceremony.

The State argued that forcing someone to choose between their job and their conscience is not a burden on the free exercise of religion or the freedom of speech, then argued that even if it is a burden on the freedom of religion, that burden is justified by the governments compelling interest in eliminating discrimination.

Lawyers for Arlene’s Flowers questioned how compelling that interest is by pointing out that in the eight years since sexual orientation was added to the non-discrimination statute, the state Human Rights Commission has not found a single instance of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Lawyers for Arlene’s Flowers also noted that Barronelle Stutzman has been the target of  dozens of profanity laced threats, including multiple death threats. No such record of attacks directed at the plaintiffs could be found.

For observers, this fact raises the legitimate question about who is more likely systematic discrimination and threats; the person in a same-sex relationship or the person unwilling to celebrate it.

Here are a few personal observations from the hearing.

First, this is a very important case for the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office has assigned their best lawyers, including Solicitor General Noah Percell to argue one of the motions on behalf of the government. Typically, the Solicitor General does appellate work. But in light of the profile of this case and its importance to Bob Ferguson’s political career, he is already heavily investing the time of his best lawyers in the case.

Second, this is a very challenging assignment for Judge Eckstrom. Only a few months ago he was a prosecutor and has only recently been appointed to the bench. The record in this trial already includes thousands of pages of motions and documents and he does not even have a clerk to help write opinions or do research. While it’s difficult to know the significance of this fact, in three hours of argument he did not ask a single question challenging a legal argument by lawyers for the ACLU or the government. While respectful, he challenged the lawyers of Arlene’s Flowers on several occasions.

Third, this case is now much bigger than the people involved. Robert Ingersoll, the long-time customer and one-time friend of Barronelle Stutzman, on whose behalf these lawsuits have been filed sat quietly behind his lawyers. He stared at the floor while lawyers for Barronelle Stutzman read from his deposition when he talked about how warmly she had always treated him and how she cared about him as a person. He barely even looked at the lawyers who were supposedly arguing on his behalf.

You couldn’t help but get the impression that he doesn’t like being the tool political forces are using to make an example out of what he knows to be a very good woman. Pray for him.

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This story is far from written and because God is good and much smarter than we are, a lot will happen we can’t predict.

Thank you to those who showed up to support her. Please continue to call the Attorney General at 360-753-6200 and email your legislators  about this issue.

If you weren’t able to make it to the hearing, there will be more chances. This case will likely be in court for years and every time Barronelle is drug into court because of her convictions we need to be there standing with her. Bear one another’s burdes, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Gal 6:2

We are all Barronelle Stutzman.

30 replies
  1. Oshtur
    Oshtur says:

    Ok, lets say somehow that actually resulted in establishing a ‘right’ for one citizen’s (or corporation’s) religious beliefs to be grounds for denying services to another citizen – who has beliefs of their own – basically putting one citizen’s beliefs over another’s.

    Keep in mind if someone can make a public offer of sale, say wedding floral arrangements, and then refuse some customers because of their beliefs about marriage why can’t a corporation make a public offering of stock and then refuse some buyers because they have ‘wrong’ beliefs? And if a citizen or corporation can refuse a prospective customer because their beliefs aren’t ‘right’ how far is that from denying a prospective employee?

    “Sorry we don’t serve/hire people who don’t dress virtuously at all times.”
    “Sorry people who eat pork or drink alcohol are unclean and we don’t serve or hire them.”
    “Sorry non-Muslims can not be trusted so we will have no dealings with you .”
    “Sorry we’re firing you because the book you have at your desk is blasphemous.”

    How would this genie of a ‘right to religious discrimination in public offerings’ be contained once it was released from the bottle? Though genies might be all blue and funny and able to sing a witty song while granting our immediate desires, we all know what they really are, and their long term costs don’t we?

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

    Oshtur: ‘Every single individual has freedom of religion’????? Do you actually READ what you post? By the way, a private business is NOT a ‘public accommodation’. Have fun in North Korea………..

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Not really shocked that you don’t know that any business that makes the ‘public’ an invitation of ‘accomodation’ (exchange of something of consideration) is a public accommodation according to the law – explains much.

      Reply
  3. Saint John the Baptist
    Saint John the Baptist says:

    Oshtur: Hopefully you will be moving to North Korea soon. Their regime fits your beliefs to a ‘t’. As an added bonus, while in North Korea you won’t have access to the internet.

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Actually North Korea is more yours style, you want to tell others how they must belief for access to public accommodations, you want a government that allows discrimination against those of different beliefs.

      As for me, I want a nation where everyone single individual has a right to freedom of religion and a government that foster’s same in its actions and the business’s that choose to license with it to provide public accommodation to these same citizens.

      Reply
  4. Saint John the Baptist
    Saint John the Baptist says:

    Oshtur: You mean sexual preference; not orientation. There is zero legitimate scientific evidence proving people are ‘born homosexual’. Also, you seem to believe government is our master instead of the other way around. “It is not the job of the government to keep the citizens from falling into error. It is the job of the citizens to keep the government from falling into error” – Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice L. Brandeis.

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Actually there is no proof that heterosexuality is genetic either. What ever the cause of being attracted to one sex, both or either all experts state and most people know that it is not a ‘choice’ by any reasonable definition of the term.

      And no the government isn’t the master, we are the government. We have a constitutional democratic republic and we have chosen to say that religious freedom is an absolute right, as does the Washington state constitution. That is why once an invitation to do business has been made the customer’s taking the business up on that offer can’t be refused because of their beliefs, in this case that same sex couples can marry, or that they are acting on those beliefs.

      The customer’s right to religious freedom constitutionally shields them from any ‘after-the-invitation’ religious tests to accepting that invitation.

      If we, the people – the government – want to allow religious discrimination we can change the federal First Amendment and the Washington state constitution. Until then there is no right to religious discriminate in this nation – the right to religious freedom of each citizen prevents it.

      Reply
      • Joseph Backholm
        Joseph Backholm says:

        Oshtur, the First Amendments right to the free exercise of religion applies to government not individuals. The government is forbidden from interfering with a citizens free exercise of religion, it does not require an individual to participate in, celebrate with, or even tolerate someone else’s religion.

        The idea that the customers right to the free exercise of religion ensures that any business they go into will be required to accommodate their religion is something that exists only in your mind. The fact that it exists in your mind does not make it so. No one would expect that a member of ISIS could walk into a Jewish establishment and force them to provide services for their ISIS rally on the grounds of religious freedom.

        Your position is that the made-up right not to be discriminated against which was created in Washington in 2006 trumps the right to the freedom of speech, right of association, and the right to the free exercise of religion. Either the individual is free to decide for themselves what events they are part of, or the government gets the power to force people to be part of events if they want to. Either the people are free, or they are subjects to the government. Your position makes us all subjects. You may want to be subjects to this particular government because you agree with their perspective, but you make us subjects nonetheless.

        Reply
        • Oshtur
          Oshtur says:

          John, true, any individual can discriminate against any religion as they choose, but the licensed business that agreed to abide by the federal and state constitutions and the laws of the government it was licensed in – federal, state and local, can’t. The Washington state constitution specifically says that religious conscience isn’t an excuse for ignoring the rights of others, in this case the customer’s own religious freedom and opinion about the nature of marriage.
          And no, the customer’s right to religious freedom guarantees them not being discriminated against because of of that federal and state constitutional right. Again, the US Supreme Court has already ruled on this when a government tried to facilitate religious discriminate against those who sacrifice goats for religious purposes. In a 9-0 ruling the government said the right to religious freedom allowed them to sacrifice their goats if they choose to do so – either goats sold for slaughter are sold or they aren’t – if they are the customer’s right to religious freedom allows them to do so as they choose in accordance with their religious belief.
          And yes, a law abiding group could go into a business and buy the services provided regardless of the religion of anyone at the business, its owners, or its corporate stockholders. As long as the customers were law abiding, fulfilled any other criteria not protected by the civil rights acts and purchasing services advertise by the business can not be discriminated against because of an after the fact religious litmus test, or racial litmus test, or veteran status test and the rest.
          And you are confusing the right of an individual, in this case the owner/manager with the obligations of the licensed corporation named Arlene’s Flower LLC. Ms Stutzman need not have a thing to do with this particular sale. She could take the day off, go light a candle at mass, or just let some other employee of Arlene’s Flowers handle it – we know that Eryn Hugo who quit rather than work for a company that makes fraudulent offers of sale would have gladly made the arrangements.
          For you see, this isn’t about Ms Stutzman’s rights, this is about this single individual trying to prevent Arlene’s Flowers and its other employees from obeying the law and telling them that they must discriminate even if their beliefs don’t require it. Ms Stutzman isn’t being forced to do anything. She willingly advertised to the general public knowing full well a licensed business can’t discriminate because of creed or sexual orientation – or race, or marital status or the others. She knew that Arlene’s Flowers had a legal obligations when acting as a public accommodation, and hopefully she knew that religious conscience was not an excuse to do as she wills regardless of the rights of others.
          Arlene’s Flowers already used its right of association when it advertise to the general public, every single person in the company has the right of free speech which included Eryn Hugo who would have been glad to make them, and the customer’s have a right to freedom of religion too, there is no right to religiously discriminate after the freely chosen association has been made.
          And you and your ilk continually ignore that the federal and state laws about public accommodations clearly states how to run a business NOT as a public accommodation. No one is being made a ‘subject of the state’, if Ms. Stutzman wants to run a discriminatory business she is free to do so, she just has to bother to do so. But if she freely choose to run a public accommodation then she knows what the rules regarding them are, crying after the fact is just disingenuous at best.
          I will be interested to see how this proceeds, the ADF is rather infamous for shooting their clients in the foots by trying to rewrite the past in their briefs. As we saw in the recent briefs they are now trying to say that the Arlene’s Flowers will sell anything but a custom order floral arrangement to anyone walking in the door. I’ll be interested in the testimony of Eryn Hugo about what was said at the Monday employee meeting that caused her to quit and if that was indeed the policy that Ms. Stutzman laid out, because if it isn’t this case will be very short and very disappointing to Ms. Stutzman, the ADF and any one else trying to carve out a right to religious discrimination.
          And we can sincerely hope such a right isn’t carved out because then you might see businesses refusing to sell to or hire people that eat pork or drink alcohol, or women who don’t dress ‘appropriately’ off the job, or those who are divorced, or those in the military, or the right race, or just about any other thing you want.

          Again, as Justice Scalia quoted:
          “Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities… To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

          The Washington state constitution already specifically says the same thing, the owners of Arlene’s Flowers needs to decide if it wants to operate as a licensed public accommodation – it either sells wedding floral arrangements or it doesn’t. If it does it can’t apply after the fact qualification tests based on race, creed, color, national origin, families with children, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability in Washington state. no matter if they are based on someone at the business’s creed or the owners – the customers have a constitutional right to a creed of their own.

          Reply
  5. Louise
    Louise says:

    As people can sexually orientate themselves to screen images, lingerie, kids, shoes, paper images, animals, multiple people as well as to the same sex, why are same-sex orientations getting special attention and protection? In a state that has legalized the business of recreational drug use, going on a witch hunt of bakers and florists conducting legitimate business seems a little out-of-kilter.

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Louise, sexual orientation is an orientation towards a sex, you know male, female, both, neither. You are listing what are called paraphilia, not sexual orientation.

      Reply
  6. margaret
    margaret says:

    Whenever I think something about legal matters, I find out there is so much complexity it is overwhelming. But it seems to me that a business owner should have some rights. If I am a Jewish caterer, I don’t think I should have to cater a dinner for Hamas (or the equivalent) just because they walk into my shop and ask me. I imagine everyone can think of other examples. I don’t think every business is considered a public accommodation. Or should be considered such, advertising or not. In order to not get the govt involved in every interaction, we used to tolerate much more flak between people and people groups. No matter who wins this one, I think we are all the losers, because lawyers, government officials, etc will all have become richer or more powerful and more scary. And the average person who is just trying to live their life according to their conscience will have become afraid of becoming a target. Freedom for everyone means sometimes all of us at one time or another won’t get our way. If I walked into a shop owned by a gay person and wanted them to decorate a banquet hall to celebrate what they consider an “anti-gay” event, and they refused, I would be okay with that. I prefer that to govt telling everyone what to do, what to believe and how to run their life or business. We can dissect and argue tiny points of law, but eventually that becomes useless., We will destroy our nation in the process. For a Christian, the issue of conscience is a very serious matter, by the way. Rom 14 is just a little intro. For a serious Christian, their home, their life, their choices–even to what they eat, their family, their business are dedicated to God. My ponderings.

    Reply
    • Louise
      Louise says:

      I agree, Margaret, that no matter who wins a lawsuit that should never have become a lawsuit, we will all be the losers. I have been sued three times without having done anything legally or morally wrong, and the experiences have served to delegitimized the law, and my respect for the law. Ms. Stutzman has done nothing wrong but politely decline to participate in something she found distasteful, as a lot of folks would. The fact that some felt threatened enough by her ‘no’ to whip up this level of defensiveness means they realize they are on insecure ground and must bluster and bully to bolster their weak position.

      Reply
  7. A Free Man
    A Free Man says:

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned is the fact that both federal and state law do allow businesses to discriminate based on behavior. “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Servie” etc is still a legal (and morally acceptable) form of discrimination. In that vein, refusing to participate in a gay wedding should fall under that umbrella of legally acceptable discrimination. The fact that the defendant in this case has had no problem selling products to gay people in the past should only confirm that she wasn’t discriminating based on the customer’s state-of-being, but against the customer’s participatory requests.

    Reply
  8. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    I want to submit a thought that keeps going thru my mind as I read of the numerous efforts by politicians (and many pulpits) to promote the power of the Sodomites and Lesbians via the courts and legislative actions.
    Washington AG Bob Ferguson reminds me of the men who were knocking on Lots door demanding he bring out the two angels so they (the Sodomites) could KNOW (have sex with) them. Ferguson is insisting that Arlene’s Flower Shop let in the Sodomites to have their way with her business. WHAT is it that drives Ferguson to do this?????? Obviously Ferguson hasn’t read Genesis 19. He needs to do that. And those of you who aren’t standing against the Avalanche of Sodomite rulings by the courts and political powers had better read it over too.

    Jackie

    Gen. 19:1-17
    Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

    1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

    “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

    3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom­both young and old­surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

    6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    9“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

    10But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

    12The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here­sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

    14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marrya his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

    15With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

    16When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

    Reply
  9. Cathy in the Columbia Gorge
    Cathy in the Columbia Gorge says:

    First, can’t the plaintiff Robert Ingersoll withdraw his complaint and drop the case? Is he compelled to continue suing Baronelle Stutzman along with the State at this point? IF he was allowed to drop his lawsuit, that seems like the State would be in a much less favorable position to continuing arguing with any expectation of winning.

    Secondly, about this situation : “The State argued that forcing someone to choose between their job and their conscience is not a burden on the free exercise of religion or the freedom of speech, then argued that even if it is a burden on the freedom of religion, that burden is justified by the governments compelling interest in eliminating discrimination.” This all smacks of trying to set a precedent whereby the State could later force any entity to violate their personal religious beliefs in their capacity to work, particularly forcing gynecological surgeons to perform abortions if a patient requests their specific services. If a doctor has been the patient’s preferred physician for a long time and is qualified to perform surgery, including abortions, and his/her patient requests the doctor’s services for that procedure, that doctor could be sued for refusing to provide his/her services. I’m VERY concerned about the wording of [ “even if a burden” on the free exercise of religious and speech rights being “justified” by the government] because it leads to the government having the right to justify any action it wants to take regardless of the basic rights of the person. We may as well toss out our constitution and our bill of rights if the government can just say it has the right to trump the whole thing anyway. At that point, our government has become dictatorial and we are not longer free. This is a serious court case that goes way beyond a flower shop, the owner and her customer. I think Mr. Ingersoll has been duped and is being used every bit as much as Jane Roe was in the Roe v Wade lawsuit. Situations like this should not be happening in our country. Just my opinion. Cathy

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Cathy, the part you are quoting is a less than clear paraphrasing of what’s going on.

      Ms. Stutzman’s sole involvement in both law suits is as the business corporation owner and manager employee. It is the business, Arlene’s Flowers LLC, that has the obligation to not discriminate against customers – no particular employee of that business must do the the floral arranging job.

      Ms Stutzman is in legal hot water for two things:

      she is the one who turned the customer away because they didn’t pass her religious litmus test by believing differently about marriage in her role as the business manager, and

      she, as the business owner, subsequently set a policy of religious discrimination for everyone at the business whether they agreed or not (one employee quit on the spot when she did) and this is what left her open to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Act fraud charges.

      Making a general invitation to do business to the general public and then subsequently rejecting some because for reasons prohibited by the Civil Rights Act is making a fraudulent offer of sale a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and makes the owner personally liable and unable to shield themselves with the excuse ‘it is the corporation that is breaking the law’.

      At no time is the state going to compel Ms Stutzman to personally make any floral arrangements, it is the business that is obligated not to religiously discriminate, and the owner to not set policies that make the corporation run illegally. That’s it. I’m pretty sure that employee that quit rather than work for an illegally run corporation would have made the arrangements gladly, wouldn’t you?

      This is about a business owner/employee who won’t let even the willing employed at the business to lawfully fulfill its obligation to customers- that’s the violation.

      Reply
        • John Robel
          John Robel says:

          Oshtur’s Top 10 Reasons to vote Democrat

          #10. I vote Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I’ve decided to marry my German Shepherd.

          #9. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon at 15% isn’t.

          #8. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

          #7. I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

          #6. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. I am also thankful that we have a 911 service that gets police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.

          #5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive and comfy.

          #4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take away Social Security from those who paid into it.

          #3. I vote Democrat because I believe that businesses should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrat Party sees fit.

          #2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

          #1. And, the #1 reason I vote Democrat is because I think it’s better to pay $billions$ for oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don’t care about the beetles, gophers, or fish in those other countries

          Reply
  10. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    I believe there needs to be a religious exemption and conscience clause added to the state’s non-discrimination statutes. What is being done to make this happen, and how can citizens help?

    Reply
    • Oshtur
      Oshtur says:

      Virginia, there already is a religious exemption and conscience ‘clause’ – don’t run a business as a public accommodation which both federal and state statutes explain how to do. But if it is run advertising to the general public there is no way such a carved out exemption could constitutionally be added, The customer’s right to religious freedom and their state right to not have it ignored with the excuse of someone else’s religious conscience makes such an exemption impossible.

      Ms. Stutzman could run the business and avoid being a public accommodation, but hasn’t bothered to do so. She could have easily said she wouldn’t discriminated again, the promise that could have completely ended the Attorney General action under the Consumer Protection Act, and then retooled the business to NOT operate as a public accommodation from then on, but she didn’t. Now it is probably too late – if she loses she might face a $2000 fine and attorney fees, but since the ADF is doing her defense one would assume that is free UNLESS she does try to do take the deal now.

      One can feel for Ms Stutzman, she caused the business to behave illegally, subsequently set business policies that left her open to Consumer Protection Act fraud charges, aligned herself with legal entities that are more concerned about using her than helping, and missed her chance to make this all go away by simply saying her business wouldn’t break the law again probably because of horrible legal advice.

      But this is a bed of her own making and everyone has tried to extend her mercy and opportunities of redemption many times. She could have let another employee at the business make the arrangements – one quit the day she announced the company’s illegal policies – I’m sure they would have done the work on the order – but she rather chose to set an absolute company policy of religious discrimination.

      What can anyone do when someone willfully disobeys the law regarding public accommodations? When she won’t even let someone else do what she doesn’t want to do?
      Pride goeth before the Fall they say, and this all seems pretty prideful to me.

      As far as the courts, the SCOTUS has already ruled 9-0 there can be no laws that facilitates religious discrimination against customers or their religious use for their purchases, so your ‘religious clause’ exemption is not constitutional. More likely since they have already ruled on this any attempt to take that to the SCOTUS would probably just be turned back.

      May Ms. Stutzman come through this on the other end, other victims of the ADF have survived the encounter even though they lost in court as Ms Stutzman probably will. And its clear no one is trying to bankrupt her so at most it will be a source of stress probably for sometime to come.

      The list of ‘if only she had…’ is long, may she someday decide to run her business legally in whatever form that may be.

      Reply
      • daniwitz13
        daniwitz13 says:

        Oshter. You know too much to know nothing. For one, a house Painter will advertize to paint houses, or an Architect to plan and design, right? But if the Painter or Architect refused to do your job, can you sue them? Can the Courts force the Painter to paint and the Architect to design? Will the Homeowner win? I don’t believe they will. Do you? They are refusing to accommodate someone, no matter what the reason, even the Homosexual. The Law was not meant to cover futuristic deeds, or creative talents, something even Courts do not understand. Think about it, can the Courts demand that you be intelligent? Pity

        Reply
        • Oshtur
          Oshtur says:

          Do you mean a business that advertises the painting of houses, or an architectural firm that advertises plan and design? If either business refused to serve the homeowner specifically telling them it was because they didn’t pass a religious litmus test, yes they could be sued and yes, they would win.

          This is a case about a corporation performing illegal acts because of its owner’s established illegal policies. I realize that trying to make it about what a single person does fits into the meme you’d like to create but that isn’t what either lawsuit is about or the previous ones that have lost in courts.

          It is about a public accommodation corporation that has a set policy of religious discrimination established by the corporation owner. It isn’t about any particular person performing the service that was freely advertised. Again, we know that there have been and probably still are employees of this corporation that would have no problem NOT religiously discriminating against the customer. The only reason they aren’t is because of the owner’s illegal policies.

          And I will assume you are intelligent enough to see why your analogy was flawed and a false equivalency to the situation of Ms. Stutzman and Arlene’s Flowers LLC. But then the question is, why bring up something you know has no bearing on this case?

          Reply
          • remember alamo
            remember alamo says:

            (oshtur) For the state to force it’s citizens to act against their conscience is in violation of it’s on constitution. It would appear to me your conscience needs to be regenerated with proper knowledge.

  11. Tionico
    Tionico says:

    FASCISM defined: government control of private means of production.

    Arlene’s Flowers is a private means of production, and our sorry excuse for an AtG has decided to take control of this entity. He not only wants to control THIS private means of productio, he wants to control our thoughts and values and beliefs. His claim that government forcing discrimination against strongly held religious beliefs is not a burden is beyond laughable. It is outright tyranny, far worse than ever displayed by King George back in the Colonial days.

    The scariest thing is that the voters in this state chose this monster over his opponent. Had that not happened, we would not even be thinking of this woman and her piddly little flowership in TriCities. Scarier yet is his obvious scheme to gain even higher political office and thus more control over the People of Washington. Let us hope this judge has either the character required to do right, or is to afraid to upset the status quo out in his county and make his local constituents mad at him. He has to live there, our tax supported sharks pressing this case do not.

    Reply

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  1. […] service for a same sex ceremony. Thankfully, at Barronelle’s recent court hearing, many people showed up holding red flowers, indicating their support for her. That’s what is needed—many more public demonstrations by […]

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