Anti-gay individuals love to hide behind their faith, and if the Alliance Defending Freedom or ADF’s track record is any indication, the courts do not tend to side with people who use their faith in order to discriminate against others. This is not stopping Barronelle Stutzman of Richland, Washington from becoming the next ADF poster child in favor of discrimination.
Stutzman refused to supply flours for the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed despite the two men being long time customers of hers. She is now suing the state of Washington claiming that the state is violating her religious beliefs.
Stutzman is currently being sued by State Attorney Bob Ferguson on behalf of the State and the ACLU on behalf of the couple.
The ADF’s senior legal council on this, Dale Schowengerdt, claims that Stutzman has the right to refuse service based upon her religious convictions, but his understanding of Washington lay may be flawed. He claimed:
“In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not use its intolerance for certain viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith convictions. Family business owners are constitutionally guaranteed the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs. It is this very freedom that gives America its cherished diversity and protects citizens from state-mandated conformity.”
The ADF notes that Washington State’s constitution has unique protections for the rights of conscience and religion, and Schowengerdt claims that Ferguson is “constitutionally precluded from compelling Stutzman to use her artistic skill to personally craft expressive floral arrangements.”
Unfortunately, the ADF seems to have less than perfect understanding of the law which reads “Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.”
In other words, while Stutzman’s freedom of conscience is protected, she still cannot discriminate against someone by claiming that it violates her freedom of religion.