Washington Florist Barronelle Stutzman Countersues State for Discriminating Against Her Religious Discrimination


Another lawsuit has been flung in the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the Richland, Washington florist who refused to provide flowers for a longtime gay customer's wedding because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ."

The couple who were discriminated against and the ACLU, as well as the state attorney general are suing Stutzman in two separate lawsuits, and now she's countersuing the state, KING5 reports:

The Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement Thursday, saying it is representing Stutzman in the countersuit. It says Stutzman has employed people who identify as homosexual. Despite this, she feels she’s being discriminated.

“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,” said Alliance Senior Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. “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 countersuit argues that the state Constitution protects Stutzman.


  1. XoMoDe says

    Good for her for not buckling to people telling her how to run HER business. If I lived in her area, I would buy some Gardenia’s from her shop.

  2. Jack M says

    She has the freedome to not do business with anybody if that’s what she wants, but it makes better business sense to put aside your prejudices and make some money.

    And, BTW, her prospective customers have the right not to be exposed to her religious views while attempting to conduct business with her. She should STFU.

  3. AdamTh says

    Another example of a christian thinking they should get a special exemption so they don’t have to follow the law like everyone else does ….

  4. Dan Mc says

    all she has to do is hang a big fish in her window, post a sign that says Christians only, and have each customer fill out a form or two about their religious beliefs and she could be her own unholy trinity.

  5. AdamTh says

    I agree with “Dan Mc”, she should just put up a rainbow flag superimposed with a red circle & cross bar. It would be legal – disgusting, but legal – and she wouldn’t have any LGBT customers coming in by accident. No need for lawsuits.

  6. anonymous says

    I see no difference between this woman refusing to sell product from her store that is open to the public and a department store refusing to sell a product off their shelves to a gay person. The fact that her products are custom and made to order instead of pre-made makes no difference under the non-discrimination laws in her state. Anyone who believe this woman should be allowed to refuse to do business with “certain” people must also believe that a restaurant can refuse to serve “certain” people and a hotel can refuse to rent a room to “certain” people etc, etc, etc.

  7. Steve says

    Also remember that there is no way that she works alone there. She has to have at least one or two other people she can delegate work to.

  8. anonymous says

    @Jack…. Please read the law in Washington. She DOES NOT have the freedom to not do business with anyone she chooses. If you open a business to the public, it must be open to EVERYONE, end of story.

  9. melvin says

    One more time. This is where I live, and it is amazing what a teaching opportunity this has become. So many people are sick and tired of this cow and how she has treated her long time customers.

  10. Terry says

    Its funny how the “christian” right is trying to say its reverse discrimination for not letting them live by their values. Then again this whole thing is silly its not like she’s the only florist in the area if anything let this woman continue what she’s doing she’s only going to keep loosing business by being narrow minded… and yes I’m calling her view of the world (along with every other person who shares that view) narrow minded because thats what it is. She may not be homophobic, but she’s certainly heterosexist because her religious beliefs reinforce the heteronormative understanding of marriage.

  11. Pete N SFO says

    Please let her get stuck w/ all the Court costs as well!

    That anyone has to waste time on baloney like this is beyond belief. The state should simply pull her business license for her open admission that she will not serve all people equally.

    Substitute black, latin, muslim, for gay & ask yourself if anyone would take this action seriously otherwise.

  12. Chris says

    I grew up in Kennewick, which is one of the “Tri-Cities” that Richland also belongs to. It’s interesting seeing this kind of thing being posted about. I don’t think her suit stands a chance, since the nondiscrimination law is pretty clear about this kind of thing. In order to win, she’d have to have lawyers that could convince people that refusing to sell people flowers is a form of religious expression, which is gonna be a difficult thing to do.

  13. mike/ says

    when are these people going to finally realize that what they are doing is not because of their “relationship with Jesus Christ”?

    their Jesus would not tell them to do this. it’s their pastor & religious affiliation relationship that is making them do this, and it is all based on lies they have made up from their own ignorance and bigotry…

  14. RHR IN TN says

    Dear Baronelle,

    If you truly believe whtat your Bible tells you, I suggest you re-read Romans 14:13. For your conveinience, I will post it for you: (from the King James Version) “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

  15. says

    She’s an hilarious wee plebe.

    Yes, the government should step in to protect her “freedom” to discriminate and make someone else’s life more unpleasant.

    Because the government stepping in to protect you from having to treat everyone with fairness and grace and equality is what America is all about. Yeah. Right.

  16. terry says

    If religion can be used to discriminate then why not take it to the ultimate and use it as a justification for taking a life. True believers my ass. Just hate filled bigots. A business license carries with it social responsibilities. If they conflict with your beliefs then you’re in the wrong business. Open a church. I’m an atheist…explain why I can’t buy beer before 12 on Sundays in my state but can on Saturday.

  17. David Hearne says

    I don’t think that most of the people who support these “non-discrimination” laws have actually thought them all the way through.

    Are you aware that the case law doesn’t merely support the basic rule that the restaurant must serve everyone who can pay? It actually has been ruled that the restaurant has to give “EQUAL SERVICE”. Now I demand that you define “equal service”. You can’t. Moreover, it would by extension mean that you can’t give better service to a regular or someone you want to please, if you don’t also put that extra dollop of cherry sauce on everyone else’s Crepes Fon Fon.

    These laws make operating your private property for profit and selling your labor and product for profit a legal crap shoot and a guaranteed source of revenue for lawyers and insurance companies.

  18. RMc says

    So when the government forced white people to serve black people or allow black people to sit wherever they wanted to on the bus they were discriminating against white people’s “right” to discriminate against black people?

    So if I refused to hire “Christians” or sell my products to them that would be ok? Oh no, no, no the “Christians” would cry persecution and discrimination and sue me for violating their religious freedom.

    Discrimination is uncivilized and this ingrate Nazi florist has NO legal right to force her religious beliefs on customers.

  19. Jack Ford says

    Sometimes it’s just so hard being a white, middle-class Christian in America. Oh the discrimination she must face… I really feel for the poor old b*tch.

  20. David Hearne says

    rmc- A lunch counter and a bus service are two quite different things. My great uncle owned the bus service when I was a child. While it was his private enterprise, he was working under a franchise from the government to provide an essential service normally provided by the government. So it was not OK for the bus line to discriminate against blacks. The lunch counter, on the other hand was owned entirely by Woolworth’s and was not essential. It was and ought to be their right to serve or not serve anyone they please.

  21. thrutch says

    She never said she wouldn’t sell them flowers. She only said that she would not make and deliver wedding flowers for them. She won’t cater to a special event that she doesn’t approve of. As a bartender, I refused to work a womens only dinner. I felt that a womens dinner hosted by women for women should have had a female identifying bartender, not a male bartender. There was lots of time for the event manager to hire a new bartender, I turned down the work. Shoudl I also be sued.

    She’s not stopping them from pruchasing her flowers and using them in the wedding, shes not denying them entry to her store, shes not charging them an extra price. All she is doing is turning down a custom order for a special event. I see no issue with that.

  22. says

    Her case is being brought by–surprise!–the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay organization founded by FOF/AFA etc. religious zealots. They’re using Barronelle as a prop for their own anti-gay propaganda and know they don’t have a constitutional leg to stand on.

    Sexual orientation has been included in the state’s non-discrimination laws for years now–it’s nothing new. Refusing service to people based on their sexual orientation is no different than refusing it based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender etc. So, unless the court rules that a special exemption can be carved out to give religious people (presumably it would have to be any religion, not just Christianity) special rights to discriminate, she has no case.

    @thrutch: Your comparison is not apt. You didn’t want to work a dinner but found someone else to take your place. She could have found another worker to do the flowers, but didn’t. So, in essence, she in fact did turn away customers based on their sexual orientation, which you may not have an issue with, but the state of WA does.

  23. MateoM says

    David Hearne, you can’t possibly believe the right wing nonsense you spew on this site every day. I know you’re just a troll, and a bad one at that.

  24. says

    @David, read that law, it’s set up to allow for wiggle room that totally invalidates your fear.

    It is not OK for a lunch counter to refuse service based on race. That lunch counter can become a private club if they want to be a country-club racist.

    Also, even private businesses could be broken by the government if they get too large and their denial of service constitutes a crime.

    Racism isn’t illegal, but it should be. Privacy and personal freedom are great and all but we live in a very crowded reality and need to start shaping to meet our needs instead of foolishly holding on to every tenant of our past, like babies.

  25. Alex Parrish says

    The majority of posters here don’t seem to get the gist of this issue; that she is free to offer or not offer a service or product to the public but she is not free to make this decision based on the characteristics of a protected class. Gay and lesbian people are a protected class under the definition of her state. It doesn’t matter what YOU think about it; she made a decision to not offer to a gay couple a service which she offers to the rest of the public and she based that decision on her prejudice against this protected class. She is a lawbreaker. This is not a matter of what is fair and what is not — this is not a matter of what YOU think she should or should not be able to do. This is a matter of law. She is a law-breaker, plain and simple. Stop trying to second-guess the law and substitute your own ideas of fairness. If you don’t like the law — you are free to try to change it, but this useless bickering and whining or “She should be able to do what ever she wants to do” is pointless.

  26. David Hearne says

    mateom – I sincerely believe that a US citizen has the right to choose with whom he will not associate or do business. I don’t see that as a right wing position. BTW- I am not a right winger nor am I a Republican. I am a fascist.

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