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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last week Family Research Council (FRC) along with the North Carolina Values Coalition submitted a joint amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Arlene's Flowers, Inc., et al v. Washington et al. This case arose when Arlene's Flowers' owner Barronelle Stutzman, was sued after she politely declined to make floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.
In the amicus brief, we argue:
“The First Amendment has never been confined within the walls of a church, as if it were a wild animal needing to be caged. On the contrary, the Constitution broadly guarantees religious liberty to citizens who participate in public life and conduct business according to their moral, ethical, and religious convictions.
“Some argue the law is necessary for LGBT persons to achieve equality and access to public goods and services. That rabbit trail diverts attention from issues at the heart of this case: liberty of conscience, integrity, freedom of speech and religion. Instead of prohibiting invidious discrimination, Washington creates it. Its ruling jettisons key values heralded by LGBT advocates—tolerance, diversity, inclusion, equality. Properly understood and applied, those values facilitate life in a free society and protect the rights of all Americans. But by crushing dissent, Washington promotes intolerance, uniformity, exclusion, inequality.
"The State demands uniformity of thought, belief, and action. It cements intolerance into state law. The result is an unconscionable inequality where people who hold traditional marriage beliefs are excluded from owning a public business. All of this is anathema to the First Amendment,” the amicus brief states.
Travis Weber, Esq., Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, commented:
"At the heart of this case stands the important fact that Barronelle Stutzman had happily served for years the very person who is now suing her. She never had a problem with providing flowers for him, but only didn’t want to be compelled to participate in a ceremony that violated her conscience. People need to understand that to understand this case.”
"The Court should take this opportunity to clarify that the First Amendment squarely applies in such circumstances, and that people like Barronelle should not have to fear that their livelihoods may be taken away simply for living out their faith," Weber commented.
To review the full amicus brief, please see: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF17H24.pdf