A Christian florist who declined to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding has been given a significant boost by the US Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has ordered a previous judgment against Barronelle Stutzman to be reconsidered in light of its recent ruling in favour of Christian baker Jack Phillips.
It gives Mrs Stutzman another opportunity to have her case heard, and she says she is “very thankful and grateful” for the opportunity.
Mrs Stutzman turned down the request to produce flowers for a same-sex wedding in 2013 at Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, but was then sued by the two men involved.
A judgment handed down in 2015 ordered Stutzman to pay a $1,000 fine, alongside penalties and fees.
This decision was upheld last year by the Washington State Supreme Court, which will now reconsider the case.
Welcoming the news, Mrs Stutzman said: “This isn’t just about my freedom, it’s about everyone’s freedom.”
She is being supported in her case by religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Kristen Waggoner, Senior Vice President of ADF’s US Legal Division, said: “The U.S. Supreme Court has rightfully asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider Barronelle’s case in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.”
She added: “Barronelle, like Jack, serves all customers but declines to create custom art that expresses messages or celebrates events in conflict with her deeply held religious beliefs.
“The Washington attorney general’s efforts to punish her because he dislikes her beliefs about marriage are as impermissible as Colorado’s attempt to punish Jack.”
Judges ruled 7-2 in favour of baker Jack Phillips, saying that he had faced “clear and impermissible hostility” for his religious beliefs.
Speaking after the ruling, Phillips expressed his delight at the outcome.
“It’s hard to believe that the government punished me for operating my business consistent with my beliefs about marriage. That isn’t freedom or tolerance.”