Monday, February 23, 2015

A/G Lets Richland Florist Off the Hook..."If"

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Barreonell Stutzman, the 70 year old owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, has received an offer from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

After 2 years of assaulting and litigating the small business owner due to her Christian beliefs, Ferguson has offered Stutzman a deal.

All she has to do is pay a fine of $2,001. This would apparently eliminate the hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines that have been accruing during the past 2 years of her trial.

And there's one more thing Attorney General Ferguson says she must also do:

Surrender her religious freedom and betray the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I have included Ferguson's written offer and Stutzman's written reply in this article.


Last week a judge ruled that Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland ,must provide full support for "wedding" ceremonies that violate her Christian biblical beliefs and her conscience. This case is being followed around the world.

The law suit, "Washington State vs. Arlene's Flowers," has been grinding through the courts for the past 2 years.

Last week, prior to the final ruling, the judge ruled that Barronelle's personal assets---savings account, retirement funds and her home, are subject to the enforcement of the state.

The judge has ruled that, among other things, Barronelle can be fined $2,000 for every complaint filed against her by homosexuals for declining to do same sex "marriages."

Following this ruling, homosexual couples have piled on, with a number requesting her to do a same sex "marriage" and then reporting that she declined.

Those close to the trial have said the total cost may well exceed 7 figures---$1,000,000.

This past Thursday A/G Ferguson put out a press release offering Barronelle a settlement. When I read it th,e word "circus act" came to mind.

The release, dated February 19, 2015, says:

In light of yesterday's Benton County Superior Court ruling that a Richland florist violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act by refusing to serve a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers in 2013, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson today released the following statement: 
My priority goal has always been to bring about an end to the Defendants' unlawful conduct and to make clear that I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 
Before this case began, my office wrote to Ms. Stutzman, asking her to comply with state law. Had she agreed to no longer discriminate, my office would not have filed suit, and Ms. Stutzman would not have paid any costs, fees, or penalities. 
After lengthy proceedings, the court has ruled, the law is clear, and the state prevailed on all counts. 
Today, I am prepared to settle this matter for a penalty of $2000 under the Consumer Protection Act, a $1 payment for costs and fees, an agreement not to discriminate in the future, and an end to further litigation. 
I have asked my legal team to craft and present a formal settlement offer to the defendants including these elemants.

Barronelle responded Friday. This is a link to her letter.

This is the text of her written response to the Attorney General:

Attorney General Bob Ferguson
1125 Washington St. SE
P.O. Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504 
Re: State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman 
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 [ one of the homosexuals who filed the complaint] 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. 
Sincerely, 
Barronelle Stutzman

Some personal thoughts:

  • It is true that this is an assault on religious freedom. This act against a woman's religious beliefs and conscience is anything but "tolerance," yet the act is carried out under the guise of "teaching tolerance."
  • It is true that Attorney General Ferguson and the activists he represents do not "understand." Both Barronelle and St. John spoke to the issue. John put it this way: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:5).
  • It is true. "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" ( John 3:19).
  • It is true that the authentic follower of Christ will not "sell" Jesus for any price. It is also true that too many pretend Christians are willing to compromise and put out a "For Sale" sign in the name of "relating to the culture." Ferguson does understand that.
  • It is true that the mission of the true Christian is to "open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:18).
  • And it is true that there is a cost to truly following Jesus Christ. Luke 9:57-62.

Be True. Be Fearless. Be Faithful.


20 comments:

  1. I applaud Stutzman for not crumbling under extreme financial and emotional pressures. Believers all through the state should also write Ferguson, and remind him of our WA State Constitutional right of freedom of conscience. This case, and the Stormans case in Olympia, are totally denying our freedom of conscience. We need to put a stop to this one sided freedom of gay rights, and discrimination against Christians to follow their consciences. Our State Constitution guarantees OUR freedoms too. Jane Centralia

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  2. This case has shown us which party is powerful and which is right.

    Philip, Seattle

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  3. So where are we, the church, the body of Christ? Why aren't we standing as one body and making a statement? I'm not talking about angrily marching in the streets or anything in the vein of a protest. I'm talking about publicly making the statement that our sister does not stand alone, that there are thousands of us who cannot, and will not, compromise our devotion to God and who, when faced with a similar circumstance, will choose to follow our conscience rather than the rules of men. If a hundred thousand were to sign a petition to that effect and if ten thousand were to show up at the capital, we could make it clear that the state does not have the resources to prosecute or jail all of us. Why do we let one sister stand alone and make for an easy target for persecution? I'll sign such a petition and would like to attend a rally to demonstrate that there are more who honor God than what the state has jails to hold us all. I've given to sister Barronelle's defense before and would be happy to do so again. But where's the church? Are there none left who understand that God's laws trump mans pretended laws to the contrary? Or is it that we are too timid and fearful to act on what we profess to believe? Where's the church?

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    1. Yes, everyone who values religious freedom and the right to live according to our conscience as guaranteed by the Washington State Constitution should stand with Barronelle. I urge everyone to contact his or her legislators and strongly urge them to stand with Barronelle, to protect the religious freedom of all citizens of Washington State.

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  4. Total misrepresentation, the AG only wanted Arlene's Flower LLC to promise to operate legally in the future.

    Surprise, it is operating legally right now - it no longer offers wedding floral services, less than 3% of their business and trivial in comparison to loss this controversy is costing the business. The agreement doesn't make the business offer any particular thing for sale, only the services that are for sale be sold legally.

    The owner should have taken the settlement deal and just continued to operate as they are now, legally AND in accordance with her religious conscience. That she didn't indicates this isn't about religious conscience at all or her hands were tied by her agreement with the ADF.

    When she loses on appeal (read the ruling there is no part that is going to change) I hope the generosity of the Attorney General remains intact.

    She has gotten horrible legal advice and that's the sad part.

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    1. So basically all you do is run around the internet looking for articles about this old lady so you can harass her? You have serious issues. Hope they have good therapists in the Seattle area.

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    2. This is obviously an example of religious harassment by the A/G which is illegal, and the state supreme court is in on it too. They likely are guilty of the greater sin in this case.

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    3. I hope it goes all the way to the Supreme Court

      Craig in Lacey

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  5. I have written to my legislators and to the Attorney General letting them know I stand with Barronelle Stutzman. I asked them to preserve religious freedom and to do whatever they can to make this right. I have encouraged others to do the same. Thank you Barronelle, you are an example for us all. Carolyn Spokane

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  6. We should send Attorney General Bob Ferguson mail, emails, or call his phone line and tell him that Barronelle Stutzman is standing on WA State Constitution rights and our Federal Constitution rights, that is the 1st Amendment. No law should lessen our rights! Please flood his phone line with messages. Carol, Kennewick

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  7. The Constitution overrides! Find A/G address above in the letter above.

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  8. This A/G should be removed from his position. What he is doing is illegal. He should be required to make restitution for damages caused.

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  9. So what it sounds like this A/G clown is saying is that I being a white, black, brown, tan, red, or orange, or any other color American, Canadian, Mexican, etc, man, woman, or whatever else I might think that I want to be, can force a flower shop to sell me flowers to clog somebody's tailpipe of their emissions producing automobile, and they are forced by law to comply?

    I say this nonsense ends right now. Forth with, and not long after, right quick.

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  10. So it seems this A/G has set himself up to be everyone's Pope, or spiritual leader. Somehow I don't think that's constitutional, nor do I think he's qualified.

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  11. I thank God for the stand Arlene's Flowers is making for my religious freedom.

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  12. This is an example of the state wanting to use people to promote the gay agenda.

    Someone might ask where the floral arrangement came from for the gay "wedding", and someone might say, "from that good Christian's flower shop over there." ....and the other one might then think, "Oh well, gay "marriages" must be OK then."

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  13. I just listened to Tom Petty, I won't back down, on you tube. This is one situation where the entire Church needs to stand together, for sure. There is no loosing if we all stand.

    It seems to me that this A/G should be taken to the cleaners.

    There should be something set up so we all know how Arlene's Flowers is doing financially, or if they need anything, and we should all be donating whatever we can, and be updated on this.

    Jesus said he would build his Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

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  14. So what the state seems to be telling us is that people's rights are not something to be cherished and protected, but rather, now, people are the property of the state to do with whatsoever they choose to do with them, whether for their own selfish entertainment.....You know, some people are going to begin wondering what judges, attorneys, governors, senators, and such do with their spare time....and Easter isn't that far away.

    Jesus was mocked, spit on, hit, whipped, and tortured, and then he died. But why now today, do we have to go along with that sort of thing? Have we learned nothing? Have we not changed at all?

    If we want to look at religious persecution, it's in the Bible. It comes in many forms but it's all sick, twisted, and wrong. It's driven by lust, I should think, for the Bible says that the horse leash has two daughters. (Prov 30:15)

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  15. Washington isn't Mayberry so what are we doing with a Barney Fife A/G?

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  16. Suppose a Jew and a Muslim together own and operate a catering company. (I've heard that both Muslims and Jews are forbidden to eat, or even taste, or handle pork as a matter of their religious conscience)

    And let's say a homosexual comes in and wants his wedding catered by them and on the list he has is a menu of items containing pork.

    Is the state A/G going to go after that business, and if so, why? Is it because when a homosexual comes out of his closet, every one else must be forced by law to go into one, and if so, why?

    Would that be fair and equal protection under the law?

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