Barronelle Stutzman, the sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, has served and employed people who identify as homosexual for her entire career. Despite this, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington Attorney General claim that she is guilty of unlawful discrimination when she acted consistent with her faith and declined to use her creative skills to beautify the same-sex ceremony of a long-time customer, Robert Ingersoll, and another man, Curt Freed.
“You have to make a stand somewhere in your life on what you believe and what you don't believe,” Barronelle told CBN in an interview. "It was just a time I had to take a stand."
After hearing about Barronelle’s decision in the news, the Washington State attorney general decided to take matters into his own hands, and sued her. The ACLU followed close behind. Both lawsuits attack not only her business, but Barronelle personally.
Alliance Defending Freedom asked the court to dismiss the attorney general’s lawsuit since he was not personally involved in the incident, and filed a countersuit against him. They also asked the court to protect Barronelle from personal attacks from the ACLU and the state, and restrict the lawsuits to her business, Arlene’s Flowers.
The court ruled against Barronelle and ordered her to pay penalties and attorneys’ fees.
ADF petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to take up Barronelle’s case, and, in March 2016, the court agreed. Oral arguments were heard on November 15, 2016 at Bellevue College.
In February 2017, the Washington Supreme Court concluded that the government can force her—and, by extension, other Washingtonians—to create artistic expression and participate in events with which they disagree.
Barronelle says she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse this decision.
Alliance Defending Freedom is here to protect the right of creative professionals to use their God-given talents in ways that are consistent with their beliefs.