February 21, 2015

State Rules Flower Shop Owner Discriminated Against Gay Couple; Here’s How The Shop Owner Responded

Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington has just been hit by a catastrophic and extreme ruling by a judge for practicing her faith in the real world.
Judge Alexander Ekstrom has found Barronelle guilty of violating Washington’s anti-discrimination laws for refusing to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony. 

In an extreme addition to the ruling, Judge Ekstrom has ruled summarily that not only her business assets may be taken as compensation to the plaintiffs, but also her personal assets – her bank accounts, her home, and her other personal possessions. 

The Daily Signal, in an interview with Stutzman, reports her reaction:
After the fines and legal fees, “There won’t be anything left,” Stutzman said.
“They want my home, they want my business, they want my personal finances as an example for other people to be quiet.”
The issue is far more than the fines or “actual damages” decided by the court.  The Daily Signal further explains:
In the meantime, Stutzman faces a fine of up to $2,000 for violating Washington’s anti-discrimination law and a separate fine of $7.91 (which Ingersoll and Freed say is the cost of driving to find a new florist).
What’s likely to cripple her, though, are attorney costs and fees, which Alliance Defending Freedom estimates to be seven figures.
“They’re taking everything because I disagree with their stand,” Stutzman said.
That’s right – the actual fines and damages add up to a little more than $2,000, but the attorney fees could end up costing Stutzman everything she owns.
She makes it clear as to the real motive behind this legal persecution.  The Daily Signal goes on:
Contesting the decision, Stutzman said the state is taking away one of her “basic rights, and feels that she is being used as a case example after the state of Washington legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.
She may well be right.  The strategy to silence any critics to its radical agenda has long been used by the radical homosexual movement to achieve its goals.  They work through the courts since most legislatures and voters have been largely unsympathetic to their quest for legitimacy.
But, Stutzman, a devout Christian isn’t becoming bitter.  Instead, she responded in The Daily Signal interview by describing what she would say to those who brought suit against her:
“I did serve Rob. It’s the event that I turned down, not the service for Rob or his partner.”
If she could speak with Ingersoll again, Stutzman said, “I would love to give him a hug and tell him things are going to be OK.”
Indeed, while she stands by her decision, Stutzman said she still thinks “the world” of her friend and longtime customer.
“We just disagree on what marriage is.”

Her response is exactly what a Christian should do in this situation.  She has not acquiesced to an unjust ruling by a radical judge and politically motivated attorney general.  An appeal is planned.  But, she has also expressed a genuine concern for those who sought to damage her via this legal complaint.

Perhaps this case will shed light on what’s at stake for all people of faith seeking to live out their beliefs in society. 

The radicals in the legal system will be relentless in seeking to curtail any beliefs they disagree with; anything that disagrees with their agenda. 

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