The following comes from a March 3 Baptist Press article by Diana Chandler
RICHLAND, Washington — A Southern Baptist florist does not regret her nine-year friendship with a homosexual man who won a lawsuit against her after she refused to design floral arrangements for his gay wedding, she told Baptist Press.
“If Rob [Robert Ingersoll] walked in the store today, I would hug him and catch up on his life,” Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., told BP. “The same faith that tells me that I can’t be a part of Rob’s wedding is the same faith that tells me to love him as Christ does.
“Christ loves us all regardless, and it’s not my place to judge him, or to judge anybody. It’s my place to be an example of Christ,” she said. “Do they see Christ in what I do, and how I treat them?”
Stutzman, a 70-year-old member of Richland Baptist Church in Richland, had provided floral arrangements for Ingersoll and most recently his friend Curt Freed on numerous occasions. But she refused in March 2013 to use her gifts and talents to design flowers for their wedding.
Stutzman was found guilty Feb. 18 in Benton County Superior Court of violating the couple’s U.S. and state civil rights, and was held personally liable for the couple’s damages and attorney fees, putting her at risk of losing her business and personal holdings. (See earlier Baptist Press story.) Backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, Stutzman is appealing the case, and is prepared to take it to the nation’s highest court.
The issue isn’t about Ingersoll being gay, said Stutzman, who according to court documents has employed openly gay individuals through her business.
“The issue is marriage is between a man and a woman, according to my faith,” she told BP. “I just think of myself as a follower of Christ and the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the Bible is my authority.”