The Associated Press reports:
A florist from Washington state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the state’s high court which concluded she violated the law by refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
Lawyers for Barronelle Stutzman on Friday contended the state Supreme Court decision violated her First Amendment protection for artistic expression. Her attorneys contend the 72-year-old Stutzman should not have to surrender her freedom in order to run her family business.
In February, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Stutzman broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. She contended that providing flowers for a same-sex marriage would violate her religious beliefs. But the state court held that providing flowers would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
From the Alliance Defending Freedom:
For more than four years, Barronelle has endured the litigation in this case with unwavering grace, humility, and faith – even as she faces losing everything she owns. Now she will take her last stand before the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to preserve her religious freedom and her right not to be forced to speak a message about marriage that violates her beliefs.
It’s hardly disputed that artistic expression, such as floral art, is speech. The Washington State Attorney General admitted as much. So, the real issue here is whether the state can compel her to speak a government-mandated message. The state claims that it has the right to do so – that it has the right to go after a 72-year-old grandmother for everything she owns just because what she believes does not fall in line with the state’s political agenda.
But that is blatantly unconstitutional. If the government can demand that we speak a certain message or be punished, that should concern us all. That puts not just Barronelle’s freedom at stake, but everyone’s. So, we are asking the Supreme Court to uphold Barronelle’s First Amendment rights.
The ADF, which openly advocates for criminalizing homosexuality, is already representing the Colorado baker whose case will be heard by the US Supreme Court later this year.