Washington court upholds ruling against Christian florist
The Supreme Court of Washington state ruled against Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman on Thursday, finding that prosecutors did not act with religious animus in their prior decision against her. Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., faces unprecedented punishment from the state, including threats to her personal assets, because her Biblical beliefs about marriage precluded her making custom floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year vacated the earlier ruling against her and ordered the Washington high court to review Stutzman’s case in light of the ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who declined to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding because of his religious beliefs about marriage. In Phillips’ case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that the baker did not receive fair adjudication and that the prosecutors showed animosity towards his religious beliefs. The Washington Supreme Court judges said they found no such animus toward Stutzman.
“After this review, we are confident that the two courts gave full and fair consideration to this dispute and avoided animus toward religion. We therefore find no reason to change our original decision in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop,” the judges wrote.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which defended Stutzman, tweeted that the ruling minimizes the Supreme Court’s protections of religious liberty.
“Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs,” ADF Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch said in a statement. “Despite that, the state of Washington has been openly hostile toward Barronelle’s religious beliefs about marriage, and now the Washington Supreme Court has given the state a pass. We look forward to taking Barronelle’s case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
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