Several conservative leaders and organizations are speaking out against the “devastating blow to religious liberty” after the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Christian grandma florist Barronelle Stutzman violated an anti-discrimination law for refusing to provide services for a same-sex wedding.
“Today, religious liberty was dealt another devastating blow as the Washington state Supreme Court ruled against -year-old florist Barronelle Stutzman. Now is the time to rally to her defense and support her,” said David and Jason Benham, two conservative brothers who in 2014 lost out on a HGTV house-flipping show after voicing their stances on marriage and abortion.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, called it not only a “terrible decision” but also a “loss for every American.”
“The government should not bully people into violating their conscience,” Moore argued on Twitter.
“A govt that can bully consciences into participating and celebrating what the conscience finds immoral is a govt that can do *anything.*”
Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, was sued in 2013 by a gay couple for refusing to make floral arrangements for their same-sex wedding.
In 2015, she was fined $1,001 and held responsible for legal fees after the Benton County Superior Court ruled that she violated the state’s nondiscrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation.
The state’s Supreme Court unanimously upheld the lower court’s decision on Thursday, with Associate Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud insisting in the majority opinion that Stutzman’s constitutional protections have not been violated.
“Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case — refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to Ingersoll and Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the WLAD (Washington Law Against Discrimination),” the opinion stated.
“We also hold that the WLAD may be enforced against Stutzman because it does not infringe any constitutional protection. As applied in this case, the WLAD does not compel speech or association.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov