A Richland florist will testify this week about two Indiana civil rights bills.
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, and Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Kellie Fiedorek, will appear before the Indiana Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, according to an ADF release. They say the bills would “empower the government to force people to promote messages and participate in events that conflict with their beliefs.”
They will address two civil rights bills, SB 100 and 344, which prohibit discriminatory practices in the acquisition or sale of real estate, housing, employment, credit extensions and public contracts based on military active duty status or sexual orientation.
“People in creative professions regularly have to make decisions about where they lend their artistic talents and the events in which they will participate. For me, it’s never about the person who walks into the shop, but about the message I’m communicating when someone asks me to ‘say it with flowers.’ We should all have artistic freedom and the right to disagree without one side of a conversation being threatened by the government,” Stutzman said in a release.
Stutzman refused to provide flowers for the wedding of longtime customers Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled 11 months ago that she broke the law when she told Ingersoll she couldn't provide services for his wedding because of her religious beliefs. Stutzman is a Christian from the Southern Baptist tradition.
Stutzman has appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court. The state has argued that the flower shop violated the Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.