A Christian florist who exercised her First Amendment right to free speech and the free expression of religion by refusing to violate her principles and provide flowers for a gay wedding is fighting back after being sued by the couple in question.
The woman recently turned down a settlement agreement and is planning to appeal the case.
The florist also penned a letter that explains why she decided to say no to the settlement, and it’s a message every American needs to hear.
Dear Mr. Ferguson,
Thank you for reaching out and making an offer to settle your case against me.
As you may imagine, it has been mentally and emotionally exhausting to be at the center of this controversy for nearly two years. I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal. Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences. Since 2012, same-sex couples all over the state have been free to act on their beliefs about marriage, but because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.
Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, 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. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. 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.
I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. 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. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process. Thanks again for writing and I hope you will consider my offer.
People of faith should never be forced to violate the principles they believe in, nor should they be shamed to do so by the culture at large.
Businesses have the right to deny services to anyone they choose. It’s the government that is forced to serve all people equally. If a business owner feels uncomfortable serving a specific group of people, they can say no.
Religious freedom is a pillar of our free republic, one that was recognized by all of our Founding Fathers, and if this cornerstone is demolished, our other God-given rights are soon to follow.
Hopefully, Stutzman will be able to fight this egregious violation of her constitutional rights and will not have her business, livelihood, or home taken away from her. Her resolve to stand firm on her principles is one that should inspire all Americans to stand up boldly for what they believe in.