Sunday, February 19, 2017

Barronelle Stutzman Case: Shame on the Washington Supreme Court

I’m deeply disturbed by the logical ineptitude of our courts whenever the case concerns religious liberty vs. LGBT rights.

Predictably, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the beleaguered 72-year-old florist who thought her religious liberty counted for something in America. I’ve been following this case since the beginning, and it has sickened me since the beginning. (Cf. Gay Marriage and the Bigotry of American Liberals).

Consider this element of the state’s argument against Stutzman, as reported in the CBS News piece on Stutzman’s court loss:

But the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

“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.

As even a smidgin of thinking would reveal, the state is making a false parallel here. Stutzman's religious beliefs would never in any case include the tenet that Muslims or atheists cannot marry. So of course making flowers for such weddings wouldn't offend against her faith regardless of what she thought of Islam or atheism. But her faith does include a basic tenet that she has bravely refused to offend against. Namely: Marriage is by definition between man and woman.

Amazingly, the Washington Supreme Court is lacking in basic ability to distinguish between categories necessary for even understanding the case. Such inability to think in such a body can only have two explanations: it’s either a result of rank stupidity or ideological animus. It’s pretty clear which we’re dealing with here.

And consider this:

Gov. Jay Inslee lauded Thursday’s ruling, saying it was “in favor of equality for all Washingtonians.”

“By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love,” Inslee said in a written statement.

Uh-huh. What in the hell is he talking about? Stutzman has never discriminated against anyone “because of who they love”. What she has done is simply refuse to make the flowers for a wedding she considers impermissible. Which is something completely different. For years she had been arranging flowers for Rob Ingersoll, the gay man suing her, all the while knowing he loved other men. In short, she never rejected the person because of what he was, but simply refused to take part in a wedding that her religion considered an offense against the meaning of marriage.

The right of the customer to be served regardless of who he is or how he lives should in the Stutzman case be recognized as secondary to the right of religious liberty: the right of the person of faith not to be compelled into actions that offend against that faith.

Shame on our courts. That our secular government, out of the blue, decided to redefine marriage does not entail that all citizens must agree on the redefinition. American laws are capable of balancing the rights of LGBT people and the rights of religious conservatives. So far, our courts have failed dismally in finding this balance.

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out my Idiocy, Ltd.. Dryest humor in the west.

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