Religious Liberty & The Wedding Industry

White RoseWhile politicians remain silent, Christians in the wedding industry continue to be denied religious liberty in the exercise of their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religious beliefs. On Wednesday the NOM Blog noted that the Washington state’s attorney general is suing a florist for her refusal to provide flowers for a “wedding” of a same-sex couple. The two men are long-term customers of Barronelle Stutzman, so she obviously had not discriminated against them as people. Her refusal as a Christian was without animus and notable by her gentle explanation.

“He said he decided to get married and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.’ We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.”

Yesterday, the NOM Blog reports Stutzman is being told by the two men essentially to recant her religious beliefs.

“Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed’s lawyers, working with the legal powerhouse at the ACLU of Washington, sent a letter today to Arlene’s Flowers owner Baronelle Stutzman saying she has two options: (1) She can vow to never again discrimi- nate in her services for gay people, write an apology letter to be published in the Tri-City Herald, and contribute $5,000 to a local LGBT youth center, or (2) she can get sued for violating the Washington State Civil Rights Act.”

In New Mexico last month, the Alliance Defending Freedom argued before the New Mexico Supreme Court in defense of Elane Photography, a business run by Elaine Huguenin and her husband, Jonathan. Suit was brought by a lesbian couple when Huguenin declined to photograph the couple’s commitment ceremony. Shane Vander Hart has these comments.

“In the years that I have been defending marriage I have heard assurances from gay activists and others that if the definition of marriage is changed religious conservatives, and in particular evangelicals, don’t need to worry about religious liberty. I’ve always felt like that assertion was a bunch of bunk. I’ve pointed out, for instance, religious liberty in Canada has been degraded when the definition of marriage has changed. Not only that anywhere where gay rights have been advanced religious liberty is in decline.

“…Those who claim that advancing gay rights and changing the definition of marriage won’t erode religious liberty are just being disingenuous or are just naïve.”

Now is the time to challenge politicians on their silence on the First Amendment.

Diamond Border

UPDATE: See also Penalizing Religious Belief: No Bed of Roses by Andrew T. Walker, The Heritage Foundation, April 17, 2013.
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Photograph: FreeFoto.com

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