The Supreme Court in Washington state has agreed to hear the case of a Southern Baptist florist sued for refusing to do custom floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., is asking the high court to overturn a 2015 district court ruling that found her in violation of a state law barring discrimination in trade or commerce. Stutzman, a member of Richland Baptist Church, says she has no problem with serving gay customers in her store, but lending her artistic abilities to a same-sex marriage would violate her sincerely held religious beliefs.
“Mrs. Stutzman is a Christian, who was brought up in the Southern Baptist tradition,” says her appeal to the state Supreme Court. “Southern Baptists believe that every human person is worthy of dignity and respect. They also hold to the belief that Scripture limits marriage to the union of a man and a woman. Mrs. Stutzman believes that using her artistic skills to create custom arrangements for a marriage that is not between one man and one woman would violate her religious beliefs.”
Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, brought Stutzman on stage during his report to the 2015 SBC annual meeting in Baltimore and led messengers in a special prayer for her and her family. More recently Stutzman has visited several states to lobby for laws that would permit business owners to deny services based on religious conviction.