In a recent article from The Washington Post, Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, defends her decision to abstain from providing flowers for her friend’s same-sex wedding ceremony:
I’ve been a florist in Richmond, Wash., for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve developed close relationships with many of my clients.
One of my favorites was Rob Ingersoll. Ingersoll came in often and we’d talk. Like me, he had an artistic eye. I’d try to create really special arrangements for him. I knew he was gay, but it didn’t matter — I enjoyed his company and his creativity.
Then he asked me to create the floral arrangements for his wedding. I love Rob, and I’d always been happy to design for his special days. But there’s something different about a wedding.
Ultimately, Stutzman decided to act according to her religious conscience, and had to turn down the offer:
When I told Rob, I felt terrible that I couldn’t share this day with him, as I’d shared so many with him before. I took his hands and said, “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Rob said he understood, and that he hoped his mom would walk him down the aisle, but he wasn’t sure. We talked about how he got engaged and why they decided to get married after all these years. He asked me for the names of other flower shops. I gave him the names of three floral artists that I knew would do a good job, because I knew he would want something very special. We hugged and he left.
I never imagined what would happen next. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued me after hearing in the media what had happened. That was shocking. Even more surprising, Rob and his partner Curt, with their ACLU attorneys, filed suit shortly thereafter. A judge ruled against me, but this week, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, I appealed.
We’ve always heard that same-sex marriage would never affect anyone aside from the same-sex couples who wanted to be married. But a judge recently told me that my freedom to live and work according to my beliefs about marriage expired the day same-sex marriage became the law in my state.
You can read the full article here.