Barronelle Stutzman: Florist who refused to provide flowers for same-sex wedding receives $85,000 in donations

Fund was set up in anticipation of further legal battles

More than $85,000 has been collected for a florist who was fined $1,000 for refusing to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple after claiming it would have gone against her religious beliefs.

Barronelle Stutzman, 70, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington, was fined by a court last month after declining to provide the flowers for the couple in 2013. She was found to have breached Washington state’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

But Ms Stutzman suggested she may not agree to the finding, raising the prospect of further legal battles.

 

 

“It’s about freedom, not money,” she wrote after the court ruling, according to the Associated Press. “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 honour God in doing what I do best is more important.”

The court ruling demanded that Ms Stutzman's shop should make available to same-sex couples everything the shop sells to opposite-sex couples. She said same-sex weddings went against her Southern Baptist beliefs.

 

Supporters compare Ms Stutzman's benefit page to an Indiana pizza shop that raised more than $800,000 after closing when a co-owner expressed support for the state’s new religious objections law to protect private business owners. The co-owner said the shop would not cater a gay wedding.

A note on the gofundme site for Ms Stutzman said it was set up by one of her friends who works for a legal organisation, and that donated money is intended for potential legal bills. More than 2,000 people have so made donations.

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