Christian florist settles lengthy religious freedom case
Barronelle Stutzman said she is “at peace” with her decision to retire, avoiding both violating her conscience and paying what could have been millions in legal fees. The 77-year-old Washington florist settled with the American Civil Liberties Union to end its lawsuit against her for declining to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding nearly a decade ago, Alliance Defending Freedom announced on Thursday. Over the summer, the Supreme Court declined Stutzman’s appeal after the state high court ruled against her a second time.
What will happen to Stutzman? She agreed to withdraw her rehearing request to the Supreme Court and pay $5,000 to Rob Ingersoll, one of the people who sued. She intends to retire from Arlene’s Flowers and sell the shop to her employees. In a statement, she said she never had to compromise her conscience during the ordeal, and she was ready to “turn the legal struggle for freedom over to others.” She expressed support to Lorie Smith, a Colorado web designer whose similar case may receive a hearing before the Supreme Court.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report on the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Stutzman’s appeal in July.
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