Update: 04/02/15: There is a gofundme page for Barronelle.
Barronelle Stutzman, a 70-year old grandmother, faces the loss of her florist business and her home over two lawsuits filed against her because she refused to sell flowers for a gay wedding on the basis of her religion.
Some Christians believe they can’t condone gay marriage but judges are saying it’s discrimination to act on those beliefs if you have a business.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom on Wednesday found against the Richland, Washington florist, saying that the First Amendment protects religious beliefs but not necessarily actions based on those beliefs. He also said the state has the authority to prohibit discrimination.
The judge okayed her total financial ruin. He ruled that Ms. Stutzman can be held personally liable for damages which means her home, her bank account, everything.
We have right to conscience laws in this country that allow religious freedom but not for store owners. Ms. Stutzman does not deny services to LGBTs. She just can’t supply flowers for a gay wedding.
Alliance Defending Freedom says the ruling threatens her financial ruin and they will file the appeal on her behalf.
“The message of these rulings is unmistakable: The government will bring about your personal and professional ruin if you don’t help celebrate same-sex marriage,” Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer for the alliance, said in a news release.
The Washington state attorney general to settle a discrimination case by paying a $2,000 fine but she would also have to make flower arrangements for everyone who asks.
She rejected the offer to subjugate her religious beliefs to the state.
“Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences,” Barronelle Stutzman wrote in a letter Friday to Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
She wrote that gay couples are allowed to act on their views, but “because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.”
Can the state extend this new power in the future against any action by any business it decides it doesn’t like?
We’re still waiting for all the discrimination suits against other religions. Actually, they will come one day if the state is given this power.