MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) – Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has announced Alabama has joined a 13-state coalition to support the religious liberty of a flower shop owner in Washington state being sued for allegedly declining service for a same-sex wedding ceremony.
On Sept. 29, the states filed an amicus brief in the case State of Washington v. Barronelle Stutzman. The brief showcases the states’ support of a business owner’s right to exercise his or her religious beliefs.
“Mrs. Stutzman is being targeted by the government simply for exercising her constitutionally protected rights of free speech and freedom of religion,” Strange said. “Mrs. Stutzman expressed her religious beliefs as the reason for declining to prepare a flower arrangement for a same-sex wedding. The wedding couple was directed to other florists who could have performed the same services but they chose to sue Mrs. Stutzman simply for expressing her religious convictions.”
The states that signed the amicus brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
“Religious persons who own businesses, like Mrs. Stutzman, are free to exercise their rights as affirmed by the Supreme Court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby decision,” Strange said. “This Washington state case is important for the impact it could have on similar cases throughout the country challenging religious liberty. I was pleased to join with the 12 other states in standing up for Americans’ right to express their religious views in their homes and in their businesses.”