BLOGThe Freedoms of These Creative Professionals Still Hang in the Balance after Masterpiece Victory

By Maureen Collins Posted on: | July 24, 2018

How far would you go to protect your religious liberty? Jack Phillips went all the way to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, the Court gave Jack the justice he deserved in its Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision this past June.

But there are many creative professionals with similar stories who are still fighting.

Barronelle Stutzman is a grandmother and floral artist from Washington State. Barronelle served her good friend Rob Ingersoll for almost a decade. But when he asked her to design custom floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding, it presented a difficult decision.

While her friendship with Rob was important to her, staying true to her convictions was more important. “As deeply fond as I am of Rob, my relationship with Jesus is everything,” she said. Taking his hand in hers, Barronelle told Rob that she must decline his request, but she gave him the name of other florists who would do a good job.

After that discussion, the two hugged and then Rob left. But when the attorney general of Washington read about the interaction on Facebook, he decided to make an example of her. He and the ACLU have sued Barronelle in both her personal and professional capacities—now she risks losing everything.

Barronelle serves everyone – and she would gladly serve Rob if he walked into her shop today. But the government has made it clear that is not enough. The Washington attorney general wants to force her to help celebrate events and express messages that violate her faith.

Barronelle followed Jack’s case very closely because she knew it would likely impact her own case, which was waiting to be granted a hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court. Fortunately, the Court decided to send Barronelle’s case back to the Washington Supreme Court to be reconsidered in light of its decision in Masterpiece.

Now, she must wait to see if the Washington Supreme Court will grant her the justice she deserves.

Like Barronelle, Blaine Adamson is also awaiting an upcoming day in court. Blaine declined to print a message that conflicted with his religious beliefs.Blaine is the owner of a promotional company called Hands On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2012, Blaine declined an order to print shirts for a gay pride festival because he could not in good conscience print the message on those shirts.

Blaine was nothing but polite and even offered to connect the festival organizers to another local printer who would print the shirts for the same price he would have charged.

But, again, it was not enough.

Not only did the group file a complaint against Blaine with the local human rights commission, others called for a boycott of Hands On Originals, and a smear campaign ensued, which cost Blaine some longstanding customers.

Just like Jack and Barronelle, Blaine serves everyone. “We’ve had to turn down several jobs because of whatever the message may have been, even customers we’ve worked with for years,” said Blaine. “I work with any person, no matter who they are, no matter what their belief systems are. But when they present a message that conflicts with my convictions, it’s not something I can print.”

Blaine had declined to print messages in the past. But this time, his decision took him all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which will likely hear his case this fall. 

Jack, Barronelle, and Blaine: Their cases are eerily similar. All three are individuals who simply want to run their businesses while staying true to their religious convictions. All three stood up to enormous pressure from the government to violate their consciences.


Will you stand with them?

Both Blaine and Barronelle are awaiting decisions that risk the future of their businesses. They have already paid a heavy price for standing for their faith. On top of the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll, the financial cost of litigating these cases can be great. Your support will help us provide Blaine and Barronelle with the free legal help they need.

With your generous help, Alliance Defending Freedom continues to fight to preserve the religious liberty of people like Jack, Barronelle, and Blaine – and for future generations. We could not do it without your prayers and support—thank you!

Donate Now

Maureen Collins

Web Writer

Maureen has a passion for writing and politics, and her work has appeared on The Federalist and MRCTV.org.

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