Well here we go again. It’s Barronelle Stutzman time. When we last left this saga Ms. Stutzman, the Washington State florist who denied service to a gay couple, was fined $1,000 after pursuing the matter in court. The state did not ask for legal fees. The case now moves forward because Ms. Stutzman and her counsel, ADF, are not interested in religious freedom. Oh no. Ms. Stutzman is interested in making a point. ADF, an anti-gay organization, has a formula to make money off of bigotry. Both are happy to proceed.
On Wednesday ADF had this to say:
Facing Financial Ruin, Christian Florist Fights Back Against Radicals
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed an appeal with a Washington court on behalf of florist Barronelle Stutzman. A state judge had earlier ruled against Barronelle for acting according to her Christian faith. ADF is standing with Barronelle and defending her free of charge. Barronelle herself has said it best—”It’s me today… It’s you tomorrow.” With the recent increase in attacks on religious freedom, the days to take religious freedom for granted are gone.
The Washington State Attorney General’s office and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have targeted Barronelle …
Obviously she is not facing financial ruin and let’s not forget that she knowingly violated Washington’s anti-discrimination laws, presumably with the encouragement of others. ADF has gone directly to the Washington Supreme Court which will probably bounce it back to the state court of appeals.
Once it has gone through the state courts I can virtually guarantee that this is going to be on a federal docket. ADF will fight this all the way to the US Supreme Court and at each stage they’ll be asking the faithful for money. And they will give generously. This is spite of the fact that the Supreme Court declined to hear an almost identical case (Elane Photography v. Willock). ADF doesn’t care because they will raise more money than the outlay to file briefs.
Meanwhile we all get to pick up the tab. ADF is fueled with tax deductible contributions and then there are the hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs. Stutzman isn’t out one dime. She has no financial stake in the outcome.
There is nothing “radical” about enforcing anti-discrimination laws and this has nothing to do with religious freedom. This is about deliberate anti-gay discrimination. As I mentioned yesterday I don’t these people credit for good faith because they are painfully inconsistent. Ostensibly, she wants control over how and where the flowers that she sells are being used. Yet she doesn’t know if her flowers are going to a wedding where both husband and wife have prior divorces. And she doesn’t care. For all she knows her flowers are decorating a Satanic ceremony. And she doesn’t care. We know that she doesn’t care because she doesn’t ask. For all other customers business is business. It’s just the gay clientele that she has a problem with (probably not anymore).
One could argue that the gay couples provide an obvious situation; one that doesn’t require inquiry. While that’s true if how and where her flowers are used is so important then she should be asking many questions. If not then the issue is not important enough to turn away business. Based upon the court documents it appears that Stutzman was just waiting for the opportunity to do her Christian duty and be a hero.
Well Barronelle Stutzman is no hero. She’s no better than Lester Maddox. The way I see it, that “kindly Christian grandmother” is just a garden variety bigot.