SCOTUS decision on refusing service to same-sex couple was 'devastating,' Christian florist says

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Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman is encouraging others to maintain their faith in God as she deals with the fallout of what she described as a “devastating” decision by the Supreme Court.

For nearly a decade, Stutzman has been fighting a lawsuit over her refusal to serve a same-sex wedding for religious reasons. After the Washington Supreme Court twice ruled against her, the nation’s highest court declined to take the case in what conservatives saw as a missed opportunity to bring justice. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which sued on behalf of the same-sex couple, Curt Freed and Rob Ingersoll, argued that Stutzman discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.

Stutzman has maintained that her beliefs lead her to serve everyone equally. Prior to the suit, she spent years serving Ingersoll. “Rob and Curt – they have every freedom to live as they want and I’m just asking for that same freedom,” she said.

Amid the adverse ruling, the 76-year-old grandmother is standing by her convictions and faith in God. 

“Sure, I want to win, and yes, I want everything to go smooth, but He doesn’t promise that,” she said. “He just says be obedient and be faithful, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. I mean, it’s just a trust level all the way around. If you don’t trust in God’s word, then you don’t have anything to trust in.”

Stutzman, Colorado baker Jack Phillips and others have become test cases for how governments will balance religious liberty interests with those of same-sex couples. 

Phillips, who declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, notably won his case before the Supreme Court. But as in Stutzman’s case, the court’s decision in Phillips’ case left many questions unanswered. Rather than issuing a broader ruling about religious liberty, the court ruled in Phillips’ favor based on the individual circumstances in his case. 

Those cases and others have led conservatives to portray the court as punting on critical cases, teeing up future challenges that will likely force it to reconsider those issues.

In anticipation of those cases, Stutzman told other Christians that God would supply their needs.

“We all have to figure out where our line is that we won’t cross, and I would say that to them, but I will say that if they do follow Christ, that He will supply all their needs and he will give them the strength and the courage and whatever it takes.”

She also discussed how her faith had changed during the process. 

“It’s changed a lot. You read the Bible and you go past these verses, and then all of a sudden, they have to be true … and God promises that he’ll take care of you when he promises if he asks you to do something, he will give you the tools to do it. And all that came about. My prayer life is — ever since this started, my prayer was God, however you use it, prepare me for it. And he has done that. I mean, he has been so faithful with that.”

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