In yet another case where an LGBT “non-discrimination” order trumped First Amendment rights, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that conscience rights don’t matter when it comes to running a business.
In the case of Ingersoll v. Arlene’s Flowers – in which a gay client sued Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian floral artist who refused to participate in his same-sex wedding – the Evergreen State’s high court ruled that Stutzman’s First Amendment rights to freedom and expression should be subjugated to the LGBT agenda.
Even though Stutzman argued her floral arrangements are a form of artistic expression and the law is forcing her to promote a message with which she disagrees, the opinion reads: “[H]er store is the kind of public accommodation that has traditionally been subject to antidiscrimination laws.”
“This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist,” argued Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Stutzman. “Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
Stutzman and her attorneys at ADF plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it could be one of “many” similar cases that could be granted cert and heard. “We’ll hope there will be a 9th justice on the bench” when that happens, said Waggoner in a press call after the decision.
The court’s ruling hearkened back to Elane Photography v. Willock, a previous case in which a wedding photographer was similarly told by the New Mexico Supreme Court that formally cooperating in events that directly violate one’s faith are simply “the cost of citizenship,” and that “[w]hile photography may be expressive, the operation of a photography business is not.”
What this effectively does is reaffirm that artists and religious folks lose all constitutional protections against laws that violate their faith and conscience the minute they start putting their talents to work in the marketplace.
In short, your building, your talent, your message, and your materials are all yours right up until someone’s feelings get hurt.
Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.