On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider the case of a Christian florist in light of its recent decision involving a Christian baker.
The state’s attorney general went after florist Barronelle Stutzman when she declined to create a custom flower arrangement for a homosexual “wedding.” She’d served all kinds of customers, including the man who sued her, but she would not use her talents to provide custom services for what the God she worships calls a sin.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, felt the same way. He wouldn’t make Halloween or adult-themed cakes. Two homosexuals sued him after he declined to use his artistic talents to make a “wedding cake.” Phillips was fined, and the state ordered re-education for his staff and quarterly reports. But the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission treated him unfairly and showed hostility toward his religious beliefs.
Now the same court vacated the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling against Stutzman and told the judges to take another look at the arguments. From Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Stutzman’s legal counsel:
“The U.S. Supreme Court has rightfully asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider Barronelle’s case in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision,” [ADF lawyer Kristen] Waggoner explained. “In that ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court denounced government hostility toward the religious beliefs about marriage held by creative professionals like Jack and Barronelle. The state of Washington, acting through its attorney general, has shown similar hostility here.”
Waggoner points out that Ferguson failed to prosecute a business that berated and discriminated against Christian customers. In contrast, however, Ferguson has steadfastly—and on his own initiative—pursued unprecedented measures to punish 73-year-old Stutzman not just in her capacity as a business owner but also in her personal capacity, threatening her personal assets, including her life savings. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling condemned those sorts of one-sided, discriminatory applications of the law against people of faith.