Barronelle Stutzman is a florist in Richland, Washington. When a gay couple, which she had sold flowers to before, asked her to do the floral arrangement to commemorate their same-sex marriage, she refused because it violated her Christian beliefs.
The couple complained and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Stutzman under the state’s consumer protection and anti-discrimination laws. The problem with anti-discrimination laws is they ultimately discriminate against someone, and in this case it is Stutzman and her Christian beliefs.
There are similar cases around the country, bakers refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage, photographers refusing to take pictures to commemorate a same-sex wedding, and more. In every case I have read, those being sued have served same-sex couples until they were requested to participate in something that violated their Christian conscience.
The very definition of discrimination is “to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately.” I think every one would agree it is a good thing to discriminate between right and wrong. It was true in Washington State until what Stutzman thought was wrong, this couple thought was right.
Government is responsible to provide its services and benefits without discrimination to every tax-paying citizen. But whether one wants to admit it or not the purpose of the First Amendment was to allow every person the right to discriminate in what they believe, what they say, and whom they associate with. The right to do something is very different from the right to force another in helping you do it.
While Obergefell v. Hodges gave same-sex couples the right to marry, it did not create an obligation on the part of another to help them secure that right. I have the constitutional right to own a firearm, but that does not create an obligation on another citizen to buy me one or supply the ammunition.
Any legislature that enacts anti-discrimination laws like those of Washington State that enslave one class of citizens to do the bidding of another class of citizens is on a collision course with the Constitution. Of course, it is not what the Constitution says that counts, it’s what those, now eight black-robed justices say it says that counts.
Christians are not asking the LGBT community to bake us a cake, bring us flowers, or commemorate our traditional marriages with colored photos. The LGBT community has won the right to do as they please, and we simply want the right to do, as we believe. Genuine Christians bear no hatred for the LGBT community, but neither can we condone what the Bible condemns.
Government would do well to leave the freedoms that have served us so well for over two hundred years in place, and leave its citizen’s free to work out their differences peaceably or to disagree. Government should heed what God through Moses told Pharaoh, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me,” Exodus 8:1, and not discriminate against believers with supposedly anti-discrimination laws.