Christian florist who refused flowers for gay wedding declines deal that would save her home and business
The Washington State florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding has rejected a deal that would have saved her home and business, saying that it would force her to betray her religious beliefs.
Barronelle Stutzman declined to provide the flowers for the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed and after a long court process was found guilty of discrimination.
However, state attorney general Bob Ferguson offered to settle the case if she paid a $2,000 fine, a $1 payment for costs and fees, and agreed not to discriminate in future.
Ferguson said in a statement: "My primary goal has always been to bring about an end to the defendant's unlawful conduct and to make clear that I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
However, Stutzman said in a letter to Ferguson: "You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do."
In her letter she said: "I certainly don't relish the idea of losing my business, my homes and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important."
She said the attorney general simply does not understand her or what the conflict is all about.
"It's about freedom, not money. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating and having a home."
According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative religious rights organisation which is backing her, Stutzman could face costs into seven figures.
She has reportedly been inundated with requests to provide flowers for gay weddings would face fines of $2,000 each time she refuses.
ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner said: "The message of these rulings is unmistakable: there is no tolerance for those who disagree with the state's view of marriage. The couple had no problem getting the flowers they needed. In fact, they received several offers for free flowers. So, where's the tolerance for Barronelle Stutzman? It's hard to believe that Barronelle should prepare to have everything she has earned and built seized by the state just because of her beliefs about marriage."
Stutzman will appeal the ruling.