"I'm sorry I can't do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ." That's how florist Barronelle Stutzman describes the way she gently broke the news to one of her favorite clients that she wouldn't be able to do the flowers for his wedding—even though she had made "really special" arrangements for him before. The issue, as the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Wash., explains in a Washington Post opinion piece: Rob Ingersoll is gay, and taking part in such an event would "violate the core of my [Christian] faith." Ingersoll and his partner, Curt—as well as the state of Washington—have sued Stutzman, who says she was totally floored, considering what she described as a "close relationship" with Ingersoll (she says they hugged after she refused to take the job).
While "we've always heard that same-sex marriage would never affect anyone aside from the same-sex couples who wanted to be married," writes Stutzman, "a judge recently told me that my freedom to live and work according to my beliefs about marriage expired the day same-sex marriage became the law in my state." Stutzman has now taken on that judge's ruling: She recently filed an appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court after the judge's February decision that she ran afoul of the state's consumer protection act with her 2013 refusal, KVEW notes. "The government is telling me I can only be a faithful Christian within the four walls of my church," she writes. "What would Rob and Curt say if the government told them they could only be who they are in their own homes?" Read Stutzman's entire take. (Read more opinion stories.)