Justices Ruth Ginsburg and Elena Kagan argued at the Supreme Court hearing Tuesday that granting a right to marriage to same-sex couples does no harm to the marriages of heterosexual couples.
But they apparently didn’t address the injury to citizens whose religious beliefs forbid from supporting what the Bible describes succinctly as sin.
Barronelle Stutzman could fill them in.
A notice of appeal has been filed in Washington state in the case against the florist who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex ceremony on religious grounds and since then has been targeted by the state attorney general for “personal and professional ruin.”
The initial filing consisted of only the notice of appeal, not the fully briefed arguments.
ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner said the “message that the attorney general and the ACLU have sent to the people of Washington in these two lawsuits [against Stutzman] is quite clear: surrender your religious liberty and freedom of speech, or face personal and professional ruin.”
She said the trial court’s ruling “affects all Americans who wish to remain free to live and work according to their faith without fear of punishment by the government.”
“For that reason and others, we are requesting that the Washington Supreme Court grant direct review of Barronelle’s case.”
Hear Stutzman and Waggoner tell Fox News about the case:
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the question of same-sex marriage. At the heart of the issue is whether the court will recognize a right to same-sex marriage that conflicts with the Constitution’s protections for speech and religious freedoms.
In practice, the rights of homosexuals are trumping religious rights as courts or commissions penalize Christians for doing no more than living by their faith.
For example, the owners of a Christian farm in upstate New York recently were fined $10,000 and assessed $1,500 in damages for not allowing a lesbian duo to use their land and home for a wedding.
In Colorado, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips is fighting to overturn state penalties against him – and his staff – for refusing to endorse a homosexual “wedding.”
There, a state human rights commissioner, Diann Rice, likened Christians to slave owners and Nazis.
“Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history,” she said, “whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”
Just in the last week, Gresham, Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were forced to close their storefront, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, in 2013 shortly after a lesbian couple filed a civil rights complaint against them for refusing to provide a same-sex wedding cake, were told they were being fined $135,000.
Then in a surprise just days ago, a court ruled that a Kentucky T-shirt printer has the right to refuse to make pro-“gay” T-shirts because of the message. The homosexuality of the intended purchasers had nothing to do with the transaction, the court said, arguing the Constitution protects the speech and religious freedom rights of the printer.
A judge ruled that her assets, including her business, personal possessions, bank accounts and home, could be subject to seizure to satisfy judgments against her.
Stutzman, 70, has run a flower shop for 40 years, but refused to make flower arrangements for the wedding of a longtime customer and found herself on the receiving end of two lawsuits – one from the Washington state attorney general’s office and another from the two men planning a same-sex wedding ceremony. They are not only suing her business; they’re also going after her personal assets, according to her attorney.
Waggoner said the award to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson boils down to a government threat to Christians: “Surrender your religious liberty and free speech rights, or face personal and professional ruin.”
Stutzman was sued even though the man who filed the complaint was referred to several other willing florists and even was offered free flowers.
One of the homosexual customers, Robert Ingersoll, told the Tri-City Herald that Stutzman’s decision thoroughly shocked the couple.
The ruling from Alex Ekstrom, a judge at the trial court level, is the one being appealed. He had ordered the “defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them … are permanently enjoined and restrained from violating the Washington Law Against Discrimination.”
Stutzman said she has, for her entire 40-year career, employed and served people who identify themselves as “gay.”
The case triggered what Waggoner called “volumes after volumes” of hate mail to Stutzman.
“I’ve read a lot of hate mail over the years, but what I’ve read in this case just is stunning,” she said. “It makes you sick to your stomach.”
Land of the free? Not with same-sex marriage” by Jerry Newcombe
“Founders’ 4 landmarks: 3 destroyed, 1 to go” by Dan Cummins
“‘The cross-gender premise’: Empathy is not science” by John W. DeVilbiss, Ph.D.