Religious liberty advocates were pleased with the US Supreme Court’s order to send Arlene’s Flowers vs State of Washington and Arlene’s Flowers vs Ingersoll back to the lower court for review.
Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, declined a customer’s request to make custom floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding. She cited her belief against such marriages as a Southern Baptist.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled that she could be forced to make the floral arrangements, but the Supreme Court’s order removed the judgment against her and told the Washington Supreme Court to review the case in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“We are pleased that the high court has reaffirmed the importance of governmental respect for the religious freedom of Barronelle Stutzman, consistent with its recent decision in favour of Jack Phillips,” said Joan Mannix, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a national non-profit law firm dedicated to causes related to life, the family and religious liberty.
Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, is the baker who refused to make a custom cake for the wedding reception of a same-sex couple. He said his religious beliefs would not allow him to create a cake honouring their marriage. The case put anti-discrimination laws up against freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression.
“The high court has always supported the idea that an artist’s self-expression is protected,” Mannix added in her statement about Arlene’s Flowers.