Barronelle Stutzman’s eight-year religious liberty battle has appeared to have come to an end.
Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, has reached a settlement with the men who sued her because she would not design floral arrangements for their same-sex wedding, Baptist Press reported. “At age 77, it’s time to retire and give my business to someone else,” Stutzman wrote in a letter. “I’ve never had to compromise my conscience, or go against my faith.”
According to a statement from Alliance Defending Freedom, Stutzman will pay Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed $5,000. In 2013, Ingersoll asked Stutzman to create a floral arrangement for his wedding in March 2013, but to avoid violating her religious convictions, she recommended other florists for the event. In response, the state attorney sued Stutzman and then the couple later joined the lawsuit after the American Civil Liberties Union became involved.
‘A difficult season has come to an end’
Following years of court battles and appeals, Stutzman has agreed to a settlement and has also dropped her appeal to the Supreme Court.
“From the beginning, I have asked no more than the freedom to act in accordance with my religious beliefs and personal convictions,” Stutzman wrote. “I have treated those who persecuted me with respect, and with the assurance that I want for them the same freedom that I ask for myself.”
Brent Leatherwood, interim president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement, “This is a case that Southern Baptists have been watching and praying over for years. While we welcome the fact a conclusion has been reached, meaning this difficult season has come to an end for Barronelle Stutzman, it does not excuse the offensive ways state and secular actors have targeted her with litigation.
“Thankfully,” he added, “these attempts have not prevailed, and Barronelle’s conscience rights remain intact.”