After a ruling this week that Arlene’s Flowers violated the law by declining to decorate for a same-sex ceremony, Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, who initiated the legal action against the grandmother and small business owner, offered a settlement of $2,001 if she would agree no longer do any weddings and not to appeal the ruling.
Below is the response to the offer from Mrs. Stutzman:
1177 Lee Blvd.
Richland, WA 99352
February 20, 2015
Attorney General Bob Ferguson
1125 Washington St. SE
P.O. Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504
Re: State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman
Dear Mr. Ferguson,
Thank you for reaching out and making an offer to settle your case against me.
As you may imagine, it has been mentally and emotionally exhausting to be at the center of this controversy for nearly two years. I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal. Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences. Since 2012, same-sex couples all over the state have been free to act on their beliefs about marriage, but because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.
Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.
I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process. Thanks again for writing and I hope you will consider my offer.
To share your thoughts with the Attorney General on his lawsuit and the settlement offer, call his office at 360-753-6200 or contact him here.*
Honor Mrs. Stutzman by being respectful, but please be heard.