The Supreme Court’s Friday decision not to hear the case of a Washington state florist who refused her services for a gay wedding could leave the florist in financial ruin.
Barronelle Stutzman, the florist from Arlene’s Flowers, and her attorney, Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) joined Fox News’ “Special Report” on Friday to react.
Waggoner told host Shannon Bream that the decision could allow Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson to impose significant fines on the florist for allegedly breaking state anti-discrimination laws.
“There are a number of cases that continue in the system that stand for the principle that no American should be forced to create art or participate in ceremonies that violate their convictions,” Waggoner said.
(Source: Fox News)
The ADF attorney was likely referencing the 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop case in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious beliefs.
“This denial paves the way for Washington State and the ACLU to financially ruin Barronelle. It doesn’t set binding precedent. The question to the Supreme Court is again to affirm the basic principle, no matter what side of the marriage debate we are on,” Waggoner argued.
Bream noted that the Daily Beast covered the story with the headline, “The Supreme Court Says: Sorry Felicia, You Can’t Turn the Gays Away.”
The headline and the story are misleading because the customer pressing charges was actually a long-time customer of the shop.
“This is a long-time customer and friend of yours who you had served. Why did you feel you could not do his ceremony?” Bream asked Stutzman.
“It was the fact that my faith teaches me marriage is between a man and a woman. When Rob came in to ask about his wedding, that’s something I could not do,” Stutzman responded, noting that the client, Rob has been a regular customer for ten years.
The case has been moving through the state courts for years. Stutzman’s religious freedom now remains under fire from the left, Ferguson, and the ACLU.
While Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas agreed the court should hear the case, they did not meet the necessary threshold of four judges for a hearing.
Despite the devastating defeat, Stutzman said her flower shop, Arlene’s Flowers, is still open, but they cannot do weddings which will be a big financial handicap for the business.
“I hope the Supreme Court will realize how important this is to each of us, whether we’re religious or not. The government needs to understand that faith has been part of our Constitutional rights. I live by that, I can’t drop that off on the steps of the church.” Stutzman said on the future.
Waggoner maintains that there is still hope for religious freedom, as the Supreme Court may hold out for other cases that are a “better vehicle” for the debate.
“It begs the question, how many years it will take for people to litigate for their freedom and how many Barronelles it will take for the court and the nation to stop activists from using the law, misusing the law, as an arm of cancel culture,” the attorney concluded.
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