The Barronelle Stutzman Story

I have written numerous times about the florist in Washington state who is being sued for her refusal to participate in a gay wedding. Her story in particular is really troubling. She has been happily serving gay people in her shop for years. She served one gay couple for nearly a decade and had become good friends with them. But when they asked her to participate in their wedding ceremony, she politely declined. She is a Southern Baptist Christian, and she told them that she couldn’t participate because of her relationship with Jesus.

Word of her refusal spread through social media, and the attorney general of the state of Washington sued her for breaking the state’s nondiscrimination law. On top of that, the gay couple who she had been friends with for all those years also sued her. And now the ACLU has piled on as well.

I don’t know how anyone who knows the facts of this case can have anything but sympathy for Stutzman. She loves Jesus. She loves gay people. But now the state is trying to coerce her into participating in gay weddings. If she loses, she could lose her shop and her livelihood–all of this for the crime of obeying her conscience. This is a great injustice, and I hope people will see this for what it is–persecution.

Watch her story above, and share this video with as many people as you possibly can. And pray for Barronelle. She needs it right now.

37 Responses to The Barronelle Stutzman Story

  1. Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Yes, this is exactly what Justice Kennedy meant when he spoke that the only logical reason for opposing same-sex marraige was hatred.

    This is absurd. You’re not going to have bakers or florists screaming their heads off like Westboro. You’re going to get stories like this.

    Welcome to ‘Merca 2014.

  2. Michael Lynch March 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, Denny. Just the other day I was wondering what would happen if someone like Huckabee highlighted cases like this as he did for Chick-fil-A (who would have been fine if he did not call for that day) and called on people to support them financially when they are being sued.

  3. James Harold Thomas March 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Interestngly enough, US AG Eric Holder has encouraged state AG’s to follow their conscience in deciding whether or not to enforce state DOMA’s.

    • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      Which is very interesting James, because in might state right now, they just closed up arguments in court over this. My state’s AG was inforcing it’s own DOMA, but a couple filed suit against the state using the federal precedent that was overturned by the USSC a few months back.

      So while Holder might be telling state’s to follow their conscience, lawsuits will quickly overturn any and all state DOMA’s unfortunately.

  4. Chris Ryan March 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    The provision of food has always been considered a “public accommodation”. I sympathize with her situation, but I don’t think baking a cake is participating in a wedding anymore than renting a tux is participating in a wedding. Also, businesses properly have much narrower religious liberty rights than individuals. As Jesus said in Matt 19:21 sometimes Christians have to put their faith ahead of their income. This is one reason I haven’t followed my life long dream of opening a restaurant–I don’t think it could be successful without selling alcohol, yet enticing people to drunkenness violates my beliefs. So no restaurant for me.

    • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      Chris, baking a cake a renting a tux is not an equivalency. Baking a cake and participating in a wedding (the action as to why you’d be renting the tux) would be an equivalency.

      If I’m in a groom’s party (best man or groomsman) at a wedding, I very much believe I would be not just participating in it, but supporting it and being a witness to it as well.

      I agree with your statement about businesses religious liberties, but unless this florist was an LLC, the business and her person are one legally. So to me, their religious liberty reights shoudl be equal (just my opinion).

      Merriam Webster defines hate as:
      -extreme dislike or antipathy
      -an object of hatred
      -intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

      Doesn’t seem like this woman is using hate to guide her conscience, eh? I would refer Justice Kennedy to use the dictionary to issue a mea culpa for his statement about DOMA.

      • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        *and renting*

      • Chris Ryan March 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

        Hey, Ian, in my example I should have said “renting a tux to the groom of a gay wedding” is not the same as participating in one. For me, to say that you’ve participated in a wedding you at least have to be there. Is selling the gas that fills the limo that drives the gay couple off from the wedding and toward their honeymoon “participating” in the wedding? That’s why I think the most meaningful line is drawn at actual attendance. I don’t think photographers & caterers should be forced to attend gay weddings.

        But also notice I never called her a bigot, or a homophobe, or hateful. I honestly do sympathize with her situation.

        • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

          You’re engaging in reductio ad absurdam……taking someone’s argument, stretching it to extreme conclusion and then criticizing the results 🙂

          • Chris Ryan March 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

            Sorry, I wasn’t trying to make your position seem extreme, I chose the limo example just to illustrate the point that we have to draw a line somewhere. The question is where do we draw it. You wouldn’t draw it at the gas station, but others might. Some might draw it at the tux rental shop. Back in the ’80s most people thought it was perfectly ok to keep gays from renting hotel rooms or leasing apartments. We all have different lines so we need to have a community conversation. To be perfectly honest, my line has shifted in the last year, primarily as a result of arguments made by Buddyglass on this very blog. A year ago I would’ve agreed with the baker. I think the sooner Christians define a conscience clause, the better off we’ll be. Because if we don’t negotiate one, there won’t be one.

            • Ian Shaw March 14, 2014 at 8:46 am #

              I agree perfectly to your last point.

    • Paul Reed March 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

      @Chris Ryan

      So you don’t believe in American Christianity, where Jesus wants you to prosper and be rich? Next thing you’ll be saying that being Christian means I might have to say “no” to things that an unbeliever can say “yes” to.

      When Jesus talked about “taking up your cross”, he was just kidding around. You should open that restaurant and sell alcohol, but work to reinstate prohibition. Remember, God will never ask you to give up something that makes you happy.

      • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

        If I didn’t know for sure you were being sarcastic, I might have flamed you for saying that Paul.

        Though Osteen’s church did get robbed the other day. Perhaps when things go wrong, it’s not a test or trial, but discipline. I wonder why on earth Osteen would need to be disciplined for something…..

    • Denny Burk March 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      Chris, she was happy for the couple to buy something out of her cooler for the wedding. She wasn’t prohibiting them from buying a cake from her. She welcomed them to do that. She just didn’t want to use her creative talents to design a cake meant to celebrate something that the Bible says she can’t celebrate–a gay wedding.

      Again, the issue is not whether she was willing to bake cakes for gay people. She’s been happily doing that for years. The issue is whether she should be forced by law to participate in the wedding.

      • Chris Ryan March 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

        Sure, you can draw a defensible line at “I’ll make you a cake, but I won’t write ‘Happy Gay Wedding’ on it.” That’s an expressive act, sure, and a reasonable compromise on a conscience clause.

        • Brett Cody March 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

          How about she writes, “Homosexuality is a sin” on the cake? She’s still baking a cake for them and expressing her belief. Would that work for them? No? How come? Because it’s their money? See how messy this gets when the state seeks to violate religious liberty?
          The couple has no right to ‘not be offended’. They can’t even buy that right. Or, I suppose, in this case they did.

  5. Paul Reed March 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    “she told them that she couldn’t participate because of her relationship with Jesus.”

    Was that really her response? If so, what a simpleton. “I don’t have a problem with homosexuals. Jesus does.”

    If you want to stand up for the Bible, don’t be coy or stupid. It only emboldens the gay-agenda even more. Flat out say what the Bible says about homosexuality.

  6. Michael Hansen March 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    This is a great video!

    Thanks for posting and keeping up with the situation this particular situation.

  7. Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    So you are criticizing how she said it, not why? Sheesh, we all can speak things perfectly……

    It’s really not that bad of a response. Her relationship with Christ is the focal point of her life. Christ’s fulfillment of the Scriptures not just in living perfect life, death, burial and resurrection to save us, but he also reaffirmed to us through his teaching what is acceptable behavior to God and what is not. God takes issue with homosexual behavior and other immoral activities.

    You would have preferred she been more brash in her response and taken a more personal approach? I don’t think what she said emoldens a pro-SSM group any more than saying, “the Lord finds what you are doing to be an abomination”. Which methodology emboldens more?

    She said what she did in a loving way, which I believe is the correct response.

  8. Nathan Cesal March 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    It doesn’t matter what her reasoning is – hate for gays or love for Jesus – the result is the discrimination of gay people which is illegal in Washington state. She is not being forced to do anything against her conscience. She is free to close her shop and do any of the multitude of kinds of business where her conscience will be appeased.

    • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      That’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing-

      It is not hatred or discrimination but just exercising of the 1st Amendment, but that is how this society and western society in general is choosing to view this now. If you show anything less than full support you must hate us because logically the only reason for not supporting gay marriage is hate. This whole line of reasoning is a fallacy but people refuse to have a logical, rational dialogue that does not invoke emotional, inflammatory rhetoric in the form of “closed-minded”, “bigots” “et al.” and does not stop these groups or overzealous AG’s.

    • Chris Candide March 15, 2014 at 1:44 am #

      So, Nathan, an American citizen can only operate a family business if you and the state of Washington approves of her faith and practice? Totalitarian.

      • Ian Shaw March 17, 2014 at 9:08 am #

        Bam. For the win sir

  9. Nathan Cesal March 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    RCW 49.60.215
    It shall be an unfair practice for any person or the person’s agent or employee to commit an act which directly or indirectly results in any distinction, restriction, or discrimination, or the requiring of any person to pay a larger sum than the uniform rates charged other persons, or the refusing or withholding from any person the admission, patronage, custom, presence, frequenting, dwelling, staying, or lodging in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement, except for conditions and limitations established by law and applicable to all persons, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, ****sexual orientation****, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as a mother breastfeeding her child, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability: PROVIDED, That this section shall not be construed to require structural changes, modifications, or additions to make any place accessible to a person with a disability except as otherwise required by law: PROVIDED, That behavior or actions constituting a risk to property or other persons can be grounds for refusal and shall not constitute an unfair practice.

    • Ian Shaw March 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

      Let’s flip the argument. If the Aryan Brotherhood or Westboro wanted a party cake that said God hates Jews and Gays on it would you still stand by your statement about non-discrimnination? Would you support the state in forcing a baker to make them a cake how they wanted it?

      Say you were the proprietor. Would you do it? Its easy to say from your armchair or soapbox when this isn’t having a direct effect on your livelyhood.

      • Paul Reed March 13, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

        Taking the Aryan Brotherhood, Are you refusing to make the cake for them because of their beliefs, or because they are white? Remember, homosexuals and society believe that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable, like race or sex. We’ve left the idea of being born-again and truly behind. People now believe once-a-homosexual, always-a-homosexual.

        • Nathan Cesal March 14, 2014 at 9:06 am #

          Paul, are you a changed homosexual? If not, then why do you think you even get to say anything? Way to blindly advance your pipe dream.

          • Ian Shaw March 14, 2014 at 9:48 am #

            Nathan, by the laws protecting sexual orientation akin to ethnicity or gender or disability, it’s proclaiming that it’s not a choice, but unchangeable. Otherwise, homosexuality would just be a behavior and then we’d have to legally protect skateboarders, those that spit on sidewalks and synchronized swimmers.

            it would be legal foolishness to protect a chosen behavior.

            • James Bradshaw March 14, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

              Ian writes: “it would be legal foolishness to protect a chosen behavior”

              Yet, we still outlaw discrimination based one’s chosen religious affiliation. Are you suggesting we should outlaw the practice of Mormonism given there’s no gene that determines this behavior? After all, they do go door-to-door trying to recruit new members. Should this aggressive form of proselytizing be illegal?

              • Ian Shaw March 17, 2014 at 9:19 am #

                James, it woudl also be ignorant to claim that someone’s hobby is on the same level as someone’s religious belief. But note, I am not saying I want to include sexual orientation as a protected item such as gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.

                I’m not claiming that homosexuality is a born trait. I’m not claiming it, therefore I don’t have to defend the reasoning behind that claim. The issue comes with those that claim it is. Philosophically, if you say we are born a certain way with chemically bound traits, you have no basis for demanding any form of social justice.

          • Screwtape March 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

            Excellent job, Wormwood. Shut the Christians out of the conversation altogether–you will not believe the power of the truth they proclaim!

        • Ian Shaw March 14, 2014 at 9:33 am #

          Paul in this instance, let’s say their beliefs (or creed- seeing as how sexual orientation is now on the same protected level as religion or ethnicity). Could the Jewish bakery refuse to provide a hoe-down cake for that group because of who they are?

          The issue people cause when they say they are “born this way” is they are un-intentionally proclaiming materialistic atheism. If they take the stance that their orientation is hard-wired into their genetic make up, then their disagreement to my point of view isn’t really their own, but instead a chemical predisposition they have no control over. This presents a laundry list of ethical and social justice issues.

          But I’m sure if you brought this up, you’d just get yelled at….which is the pinnacle of an open-dialogue.

  10. Ian SHaw March 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Let’s be realistic. These stories aren;’t making national news, if barely at all. If Westboro went into say New York city and found a Jewish bakery and requested them to make a cake with something derogatory about Jews on it, this would be on every major news carrier within the hour. You’re telling me that the state would nullify the religious rights of that Jewish bakery in favor of the equal protection clause for Westboro? Not bloody likely!

    Rome is and has been burning people. Open your eyes.

  11. James Bradshaw March 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    For the sake of discussion: what if the bakery in question had already made the cake and it was sitting in a display case, and the couple in question said they simply wished to purchase it as is. Is there a difference?

  12. Fred Lusk April 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Homo sex is sin. When you speak out and act against it like this brave Christian woman, you will be persecuted. I get a lot of hate and anger when I speak out against. John 15:18

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