The Washington florist whose entire assets a judge has ruled can be confiscated because she refuses to participate in a same-sex wedding because of her Christian religion has rejected outright a settlement offered to her by the state’s attorney general.
Ms. Stutzman [the florist] rejected Friday a settlement agreement offered by Mr. Ferguson [the attorney general] that would have required her to pay $2,001 in damages and legal fees after a judge ruled last week that she violated state law by declining to provide services for a same-sex wedding. “My primary goal has always been to bring about an end to the Defendants’ unlawful conduct and to make clear that I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Mr. Ferguson said in a statement.
The agreement also would require Ms. Stutzman to agree “not to discriminate in the future,” which means she must provide custom floral arrangements for same-sex weddings or stop doing weddings altogether, said Peter LaVallee, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.
In rejecting the offer, Stutzman was very blunt about her reasons.
“Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about,” Ms. Stutzman said in a letter to Mr. Ferguson. “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.
“…I pray that you reconsider your position. … I kindly served Rob [the gay plaintiff] 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.”
She concluded, “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.”
The mildness of the attorney general’s offer suggests to me that he is feeling some political heat. He looks like a tyrant and a bad guy who is trying to destroy this woman expressly because of her religious beliefs. He thus wants this case to end with a victory, but to end as quickly as possible.
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