A Christian florist who declined to provide flowers for a gay wedding in the US has been ordered to pay a fine and court fees.
Barronelle Stutzman was given 60 days to pay $1,000 for ‘discriminating’ against Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, who had their same-sex wedding in 2013.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty organisation representing the florist, said that the fees are only the “first punch”.
Surrender your liberty
A statement on the ADF website reads: “Today’s judgment affirms the court’s earlier decision that Barronelle must pay a penalty for her faith and surrender her freedom and conscience. The penalty and fees imposed today are only the first punch.
“The ACLU, on behalf of the same-sex couple also suing Barronelle, has asked the court to award them penalties, fees, and costs, which will financially devastate Barronelle’s business and personal assets – including taking this 70-year old grandmother’s retirement and personal savings.”
The statement continues: “The message sent by the attorney general and the ACLU to the people of Washington is quite clear: surrender your religious liberty and free speech rights, or face personal and professional ruin.”
Speaking to Fox News, Stutzman said that the Washington State Attorney General and the court were “bullying” her into doing something that is against her faith.
Considering the prospect of her business failing, she added: “They can get rid of me but they can’t get rid of God.”
The ADF lawyer representing Stutzman appeared alongside her on Fox News and criticised the conduct of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Kristen Waggoner said that Ferguson had taken it upon himself to bring a case against Stutzman after reading reports in the media and had “relentlessly pursued” her ever since.
Waggoner argued that the decision sends a very clear message to the florist and anyone like her that, if you don’t help celebrate same-sex marriage, the “Government will bring about your personal and your professional ruin”.