Supreme Court Makes Shocking Attack on Individual Freedom in Arlene’s Ruling
The Washington State Supreme Court made a chilling, shocking statement as part of their ruling against Arlene’s Flowers, when they announced Thursday that the owner of the Richland Floral Shop discriminated against a same sex couple.
In 2013 Barronelle Stutzman was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU because due to her religious beliefs, she declined to provide floral services for a same-sex wedding. The case ended up this year before the state Supreme Court, and was being watched closely nationwide. It pitted First Amendment expression and religious freedom rights vs. the Consumer Protection Act. Stutzman offered to sell the couple flowers so they could do their own arrangements, as that was not considered an act of expression.
Her attorneys argued that under First Amendment free speech and expression and also freedom of religious expression laws, Stutzman should not have been forced to provide services to support and event, belief or lifestyle she did not agree with.
That act says a business or person cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Stutzman’s attorneys argued arranging flowers is an artistic freedom protected by the First Amendment. But the Supreme Court, in it’s 59-page decision, says the Washington Law Against Discrimination does not offer such protection.
But the most chilling and shocking statement came from the justices, who said this:
“…the government can force her, and other Washingtonians by extension, to create artistic expression and participate in events with which they disagree.”
The state Supreme Court has been accused over stepping it’s bounds in the past, especially with the controversial McCleary Education decision, and now this ruling. In the McCleary Decision, the court basically ordered that the State Legislature is violating the state Constitution by not providing certain levels of education funding, regardless if the state can afford it or not.
Gov. Inslee issued the following statement about the Supreme Court ruling Thursday: