Barronelle Stutzman, great grandmother and Washington State florist, was prosecuted and could lose everything, simply for declining to create custom flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding. A similar law is about to be voted on in Helena, and your action is needed.
Montana is neighborly and welcoming – a great place to raise a family and to live out your faith.
But now, some legislators are pushing a bill that would punish people for their ideas and beliefs. This is a battle that needs the attention of all Montanans. A vote is possible on Friday, so your action is needed today!
The bill (House Bill 465) is known as a SOGI law because it offers special protections for “sexual orientation and gender identity” classes.
Do you remember Jack Phillips? He is the Colorado baker who recently won a Supreme Court case, after being prosecuted under a SOGI law for declining to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.
Do you remember Barronelle Stutzman? She is the florist in Washington State (pictured above) who is also being prosecuted under SOGI laws for declining to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. She, like Jack, is at grave risk of losing her home and business from fines and legal costs.
Over and over again, SOGI laws have been the leading tool used by the Left to attack religious freedom. And the gender identity component puts the privacy and safety of women and girls at risk by opening women’s bathrooms, showers, dressing rooms and other public accommodations to men.
This bill will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday morning. You can send a message to each of the committee members – urging them to vote NO – with just a click on our Action Center.
Please make your voice heard for freedom! Thanks for taking action and spreading the word!
The Family Policy Alliance Team
In association with our state ally, Montana Family Foundation
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard shares 14 things that are unassailably true about the NFL protest, the First Amendment and Mr. Trump.
Whether you agree or disagree with the players who are kneeling during the anthem, whether you think President Trump’s coarse language in saying they should all be fired was spot on or not fitting for a president, you’ll want to consider this sharp opinion on how all of this should play out in a free society.
And most of all, what this says about some other people who are fighting for the right to protest, but who are not getting nearly as much attention.
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The Washington Supreme Court ruled today that the government can force Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings or face heavy penalties.
Stutzman’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) argued that she was protected by the First Amendment.
“This case is about crushing dissent,” said Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior counsel. “In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist. It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
ADF is already making plans to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case points out the need for the Trump Administration to make good on its campaign promise to strengthen religious freedom. The President has the opportunity to sign an executive order doing just that, but so far has not done so.
“Signing the executive order would be a great first step,” said Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance. “Christians in our country should not risk losing their businesses, their homes or their life savings because the government insists on forcing them to choose between their livelihood and their faith. Without Congress passing laws to keep the government from discriminating, there will be a lot more cases just like Barronelle.”
Urge the President to sign the religious freedom executive order.
Attorney Alicia Berry, who formerly represented a florist in a religious freedom case, has announced she’s running for Superior Court Judge in Position 3 in Washington state. The seat is currently held by a judge who ruled against religious freedom.
In 2013, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Barronelle Stutzman and her business after she declined to create custom arrangements for a longtime customer’s same-sex wedding.
Judge Alexander Ekstrom ruled in favor of the government. Since Stutzman was sued in a personal and professional capacity, she is in danger of losing her business and her home if she is unsuccessful in her appeal.
“Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” Ekstrom wrote.
The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case. Berry said people have lost trust in the judicial system.
“This loss of trust in a fundamental government system,” she said in a statement, “designed to protect the people from oppressive government oversight and regulation needs to be addressed.”
She’s a grandmother and florist. And she’s at risk of losing her business and her home – because the government objects to her Christian beliefs about marriage.
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard shares the compelling story of Barronelle Stutzman. She runs Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. But the state attorney general is intent on putting her out of business, because she makes business decisions based on her faith.
It appears the government is okay with Christians believing whatever they want – as long as they act according to what the state believes.