Ingersoll v. Arlene's Flowers

Becket Role:
Amicus
Case Start Date:
April 9, 2013
Deciding Court:
Washington Supreme Court
Original Court:
Benton County Superior Court, Washington
Supreme Court Status:
Granted, Vacated, and Remanded
Practice Area(s):
,

Status

Pending petition for certiorari at the US Supreme Court.

Case Summary

For nearly forty years, 71-year-old Barronelle Stutzman has created custom floral arrangements to celebrate her customers’ life events.

For nine years Barronelle joyfully served Rob Ingersoll, designing custom arrangements for Valentine’s Day and other holidays that he celebrated with his partner Curt Freed. In 2013 Rob asked Barronelle to do the flowers for his wedding.  She told him with tears in her eyes that she values his friendship but could not participate in his wedding because of her faith. Another florist quickly provided floral arrangements for free.

However, Barronelle was sued by the state’s Attorney General and the ACLU following a news story about the couple’s wedding. Last year a state court ruled that Barronelle was personally liable for Rob Ingersoll’s $ 8 dollars in damages as well as his attorney’s fees, which means that she could lose her business, her home, and her life savings.

The Washington Supreme Court heard oral argument in Barronnelle’s case in November 2016. Becket filed an amicus brief in February 2016 supporting Mrs. Stutzman, who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. Other groups supporting Barronelle include the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Coalition of African American Pastors USA, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Cato Institute, 27 law professors, and 13 states.

In August 2017, Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case in tandem with the Masterpiece Cakeshop case the Court has already accepted for review.