RICHLAND, Washington – Florist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, has reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union ending a lawsuit brought against her after refusing to serve a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers in 2013. Stutzman said she would not participate in the ceremony based on her religious beliefs.
The settlement agreement was secured by attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Stutzman will make a payment of $5,000 to the two men who sued her.
Additionally, she will withdraw a pending petition to have her case reheard at the U.S. Supreme Court. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit against Stutzman for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act. In September, she sent Ferguson’s office a check for $1,0001 to cover a court assessed penalty and court-ordered legal fees.
At the age of 77, Stutzman has chosen to retire and let her employees run her business. She explained she is at peace because the settlement allows her to retire with her conscience intact, and she knows that the legal effort to protect the artistic freedoms of creative professionals will continue in cases like 303 Creative versus Elenis, which the U.S. Supreme Court could decide to hear soon.
In that case, a Colorado law forces web designer Lorie Smith and her studio, 303 Creative, to design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs. The law at issue also gags Smith from even explaining on her own company’s website what websites she can create consistent with her religious beliefs.