We can all acknowledge that the Left does not hide its agenda or its strategy. It is very clear, if you are watching. The most recent attack from the Left requires that every man, woman, and child, no matter their station in life, agree with their radical sexual agenda.
As we’ve noted in previous messages, this most recent attack is coming to our city councils and to our state capitol in the form of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination ordinances and laws. Over the next several weeks, I will break down the impact these laws can and do have on your profession, your child’s school, your speech, your church, and many other facets of your daily life.
The first area I will be addressing is the business arena. These laws don’t just affect business owners, though. They affect each and every one of us. These concerns are having impacts on real people’s lives people’s lives even as you read this.
There are three different ways that SOGIs impact the business arena:
SOGIs come between business owners and their customers
SOGIs are being used as a sword against business who believe in Biblical sexuality. Business owners across the country are being targeted for living out their faith in the way they conduct their business.
Here are just a few examples:
- Blaine Adamson, a graphic designer in Kentucky, was sued when he declined to make t-shirts for a gay pride parade despite serving many customers who were gay and having gay employees. He was sued under a local city ordinance. Even local lesbian business owners agreed with Blaine, stating that they would not want to be forced to make items for things with which they disagreed, and arguing that he shouldn’t be required to either.
- Jack Phillips, a cakebaker in Colorado was sued for not making a wedding cake for a long-time customer’s same-sex wedding. He won his case at the Supreme Court when the Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown clear hostility to Jack. Jack was sued again for living out his faith, this time for refusing to make a gender reveal cake for a lawyer who identifies as a transgender activist. The Commission eventually dismissed the case when Jack counter-sued because they were repeatedly targeting him. Now the same attorney is suing him again personally for discrimination.
- Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington, nearly lost her business when the state came after her for politely declining to create floral arrangements for a long-time customer’s gay wedding, an event which violated her beliefs about marriage. She gladly referred him to other florists. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled against her twice, and she is once again forced to defend her rights before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Each one of these business owners had no problem serving the individuals involved – they simply could not participate in the particular event or the specific service requested. These owners happily referred them to other businesses. Yet, the Left could not let them be. And in many of these instances these individuals are being sued daily until they recant.
SOGIs force contractors out of the public square
Many states and cities have gone so far as to pass laws that don’t allow government contracts with businesses they believe are associated with or promote a biblical view of sexuality. The prime example of this is when San Antonio tried to ban Chick-fil-A from its airport.
This is not just happening in other states – it’s happening in Kansas too. We saw a similar effort in Kansas at KU over the summer as some tried to force KU to ban Chick-fil-A from the campus. Governor Kelly made sure to include this sort of language in the first executive order she signed – requiring that all government contractors agree with her ideology.
These sorts of provisions are in many of the city ordinances that are being passed as well. These provisions violate the religious freedom of contractors by saying just because the business owner, or someone associated with the business, holds a certain worldview – they are excluded from the public square.
SOGIs requires YOU – the consumer – to share intimate spaces with members of the opposite sex
One way that SOGIs effect every person that enters a business, or a government building, is that SOGI’s require that bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers be open to anyone regardless . These laws generally require that places of public accommodations (most businesses) with more than a certain number of employees (normally 10 or more though it varies) must open up their restrooms, locker rooms, and other dressing rooms to everyone. This means that men who claim to be women can legally enter any dressing room alongside women or children.
These are just a few of the many examples of how the Left is seeking to force businesses to comply with and carry out their sexual agenda. As we’ve discussed before several City Councils in Johnson County have been quietly passing SOGI ordinance in recent months.
But it’s not just Johnson County that is being targeted. Legislators across the state are already being pushed to cave in their protections of religious freedom, women, girls, and everyone who engages in the public square. It is vital that we continue to let legislators know that it is important that they protect our God given freedoms. If you would like to contact your legislator, you can find their contact information here (just enter your zip code and/or address to see their contact information).
For the freedom of all Kansans,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
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
Barronelle Stutzman, great grandmother and florist, joined us in Boise last week to tell Idaho legislators how an “Add the Words” type of law upended her life.
The voice for freedom grew stronger in the state capitol this past week, and you helped play a big part in that! That growing voice is in response to a push by some Republicans to preemptively surrender Idahoans’ religious freedom in order to placate LGBT activist groups.
First, legislators are noticing your response to our action alert.
Multiple state senators told me they are receiving hundreds of emails opposing any “compromise” bill. Even the backers of this proposal are telling me that, and it’s clear that it’s having an impact.
Second, I reached out to our allies at Alliance Defending Freedom. You may recall that they successfully defended Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop before the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
In response, ADF joined us at the capitol last week along with their client, Barronelle Stutzman, who shared her story with lawmakers. Barronelle (pictured above) is a Washington state florist. She was sued by the Washington attorney general and the ACLU under her state’s “Add the Words” law, simply for declining to custom create floral arrangements celebrating the same-sex wedding of a longtime friend and customer. It was a friendly exchange – as their relationship had always been – and it ended with a hug and a referral to other nearby flower shops.
But, as Barronelle explained, she stands to lose everything she owns simply because she has a view on marriage that the government has chosen to disrespect.
As we moved from meeting to meeting in the capitol, we also spoke to lawmakers about how similar laws in other states and municipalities violate women’s privacy and dignity by forcing them to share private, intimate spaces with men who identify as women – and how they empower the government to marginalize people who hold decent and honorable beliefs about marriage, sex, and what it means to be male and female.
No law should compromise the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of any of its citizens, nor jeopardize the privacy and dignity of women.
Let’s not let Idaho legislators inflict this type of law on all of Idaho! If you haven’t yet taken action, please make your voice heard today!
Yours for freedom,
Director of Advocacy
P.S. Much more is also happening at the capitol, including two important pro-life bills that are on the move. Last week, I testified in support of one of them – a bill from our good friends at Right to Life of Idaho. The bill, which would reactivate Idaho’s ban on gruesome partial-birth abortions, passed the Senate this week and is on the way to the House! Please stay tuned for updates on this and other key bills.
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge.” -Acts 4:19
Picture this….”an Idaho where religious freedom flourishes…”
In 2014, the pastors at The Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene suddenly closed their business for fear that the city would prosecute them for refusing, in accordance with their Christian beliefs, to perform same-sex weddings.
Even though they are pastors, Hitching Post owners Don and Lynn Knapp had reason to fear the heavy hand of government. On at least three occasions the city attorney made it clear that since the Hitching Post was a for profit business, they would be considered a public accommodation and subject to the city’s “Add the Words” ordinance. The Knapps were in the crosshairs.
The attorney said, “If you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services to them, that you would provide for anyone else, then in theory you violated our code and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”
The Knapps faced up to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, or both, for declining to perform a same-sex ceremony in violation of the city’s nondiscrimination public accommodation ordinance. And under the city’s ordinance, each day a violation continues is a separate offense, so the potential jail time and fines were accruing rapidly since the Knapps had already declined to perform two same-sex wedding ceremonies.
It took a lawsuit filed by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Knapps to encourage the city to back off and declare that the pastors of The Hitching Post will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
As they stared down the barrel of their livelihood being taken from them, the Knapps faced an uncertain future. Their business didn’t stay closed for long, but it took 2 years of court battles to close the book on the danger they faced.
Welcome to part two of our four-part series highlighting the vision of Family Policy Alliance of Idaho. Today, we look at the second part of our vision – an Idaho where religious freedom flourishes.
Cases like The Hitching Post and florist Barronelle Stutzman in WA (who has spent multiple years in court and stands to lose literally everything) are both blatant attacks against the right to religious freedom guaranteed to us by our U.S. and State Constitutions.
Yes, this IS happening, and, yes, WE MUST do something about it.
Our founders recognized the freedom of religion to be so fundamental that they preserved it as our first freedom in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment – protecting not only the freedom to believe, but also the freedom to freely exercise our beliefs.
At Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, we are dedicated to preserving our freedom to believe and live out our faith. We do this by promoting public policy that protects and enhances this freedom for individuals, families, churches, organizations, and companies. At the same time, we defend against policies that would erode constitutional protections for people of faith and the entities they operate.
Do you agree with the founders? Do you share our passion for protecting religious freedom?
If so, please continue to pray for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho and forward this message to your friends and family.
Picture this—an Idaho where God is honored and religious freedom flourishes! Together, let’s “unleash citizenship” and transform this vision into reality!
Standing for religious freedom,
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.
Thank you for sharing Stoplight with your friends.
Do you remember in elementary school when the teacher taught about the how the pilgrims came to the New World in the hopes of having less religious freedom?
Me neither. But, sadly, that’s the way our nation is going.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with Barronelle Stutzman, the Christian florist from Washington State who chose to honor her Lord by declining to provide floral arrangements for a gay wedding ceremony. Barronelle, a kind and thoughtful grandmother and small business owner, now stands to lose everything. She and her attorneys are currently seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court intervene in her case.
Here in Georgia – a state in the so called “Bible Belt”—we have already seen the two significant cases restricting religious freedom. Dr. Eric Walsh and Chief Kelvin Cochran – both believers – lost their jobs for expressing biblical truths.
The fundamental loss of religious freedom isn’t something that we are talking about in hypothetical terms nor is it something that is slowly coming to fruition. Religious freedom as the Founders intended, the revolutionaries fought and died for, and which soldiers through the generations have defended is effectively gone.
But, hope is not lost.
Joining me in my meeting with Barronelle was Sen. Michael Williams, who is leading our Family Leadership Team here in Georgia. Alongside Williams are many godly men and women serving in public office. Family Policy Alliance of Georgia stands shoulder to shoulder with these leaders – partnering with you and other believers across Georgia – to protect our basic First Amendment Rights.
In 2018, we will have an opportunity to identify, support, and elect a candidate for governor who will stand up for religious freedom. We won’t let a moment pass by where we aren’t working toward making the most of that opportunity.
Please help us spread the word about our efforts. Like our Facebook page and invite your friends to do the same. We need your help as we build our team on social media.
Last week, I saw how the loss of religious freedom is affecting a brave sister in Christ. Make no mistake, none of us are immune from this threat. Let’s stand shoulder to shoulder to take this freedom back!
In His Service,
Would you consider partnering with us financially as we stand strong for religious freedom in Georgia? Thank you!
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.