'You Can't Buy My Freedom': Florist in Legal Battle for Refusing Service to Gay Couple
A Washington state florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex couple's wedding spoke out Monday night in a "Kelly File" exclusive.
Barronelle Stutzman rejected a deal by the attorney general’s office that would’ve forced her to violate her religious beliefs, likening the idea to Judas betraying Jesus.
“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,” Stutzman wrote in a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “That is something I will not do.”
Stutzman could have settled the consumer protection lawsuit by paying a $2,000 penalty for violating the Consumer Protection Act and agreeing not to discriminate in the future.
The offer came after a judge ruled that Stutzman violated the law by refusing to provide the flowers. She now plans to appeal that decision.
Stutzman, who discussed the case with Shannon Bream, explained that she has a good relationship with the longtime customer whose wedding is at the center of the dispute.
"It was very difficult to tell him that I couldn't do his wedding. I love Rob. He's very special to me, but because of my relationship with Jesus Christ which teaches me that marriage is between a man and a woman, I couldn't do his flowers and create something that was special for him because it would dishonor Christ," she said.
On why she rejected the settlement offer, Stutzman said this all comes down to her religious freedom.
"It's not about the money. It's about freedom," she said.
"It's about my eight kids and our 23 grandchildren and the future and now. There's not a price on freedom. You can't buy my freedom. It's me now but tomorrow it's going to be you. You got to wake up," said Stutzman.
Her attorney, Kristen Waggoner, said Ferguson has "relentlessly pursued" Stutzman after he learned about the case through the media.
She argued that the court and Ferguson are sending a clear message that "the government will bring about your personal and professional ruin if you don't help celebrate same-sex marriages."
Watch the full interview above.