FOUNDATION DEFENDS CHRISTIAN FLORIST WHOSE CASE RETURNS TO U.S. SUPREME COURT
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MONTGOMERY, AL: The Foundation for Moral Law, an Alabama nonprofit
organization dedicated to the defense of religious liberty, filed an amicus brief on
Friday at the U.S. Supreme Court in support Barronelle Stutzman, whose case may
finally decide whether Christians must cater to same-sex weddings over their
Stutzman is the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, a small business in Washington State.
For years, Stutzman had served Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, who were
homosexuals. Stutzman had served them for years when they requested flowers for
other events. But when the two men sought to marry, they asked Stutzman to cater
to their wedding. Stutzman politely explained that she could not create a custom
floral arrangement for that occasion, because as a Christian she believed marriage
was between one man and one woman. The Washington Supreme Court eventually
held that she violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Stutzman asked the U.S.
Supreme Court to take her case.
Around that time, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which held that the
government violated the Free Exercise Clause when it showed open hostility and
disrespect to a Christian baker who did not want to cater to a same-sex wedding.
The U.S. Supreme Court then ordered the Washington Supreme Court to
reconsider Stutzman’s case under Masterpiece Cakeshop. The Washington
Supreme Court concluded that the State did not show such hostility to Stutzman,
and she again asked the Court to take her case. The Foundation filed an amicus
brief supporting her.
Foundation Counsel Matt Clark explained, “Under Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Free
Exercise Clause protects a religious person only if the government was
disrespectful or treated her worse than others. But now since Justice Kavanaugh
has replaced Justice Kennedy, who authored Masterpiece Cakeshop, Stutzman’scase gives the Supreme Court the opportunity to answer the question that
Masterpiece Cakeshop did not: does the Free Exercise Clause protect you even if
the government is not ‘mean?’ We invited them to answer this question, and we
argued thoroughly that the answer is yes.”
Foundation President Kayla Moore said, “Religious freedom is an unalienable right
given not by man but by God. The Free Exercise Clause should clearly protect
Stutzman, and every other Christian, who objects on religious grounds to endorsing
an activity that goes against God’s design for marriage.”