Washington’s state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Barronelle Stutzman may not refuse to arrange floral decorations for gay weddings:
‘As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism,’ the opinion said.
Despite Mrs. Stutzman’s willingness to serve gay people and couples equally — it’s only helping beautify a gay wedding she objects to — she still lost. She is not required to serve any weddings, but if she markets her services to any wedding, she must serve gay weddings too.
Stutzman’s lawyers immediately announced they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision. Unfortunately under existing constitutional law and the existing Supreme Court, she faces long odds and an uphill battle.
Most likely, active conscience protection legislation will be necessary to prevent this kind of punitive treatment of traditional believers, similar to the conscience protections protecting pro-life doctors and hospitals.
Will that happen anywhere in the country in 2017?
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.