Group Has Support of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Who Addressed Them in a Private Speech Behind Closed Doors Last Week
Alliance Defending FreedomÂ late last month successfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to agree to review the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Having finally gotten SCOTUS to accept the case of Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cake Shop, the ADF is now petitioning the Supreme Court to accept another, similar case: a Washington state florist who refused to do provide a floral arrangement for a same-sex couple’s wedding.
The two cases are very similar. Both Jack Phillips andÂ Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington, claim they aren’t anti-gay, while insisting they have a First Amendment right to refuse service to gay people based on their deeply-held religious beliefs and artisticÂ expression. Both have lost every case along the way. And both are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom,Â a far right Christian legal firm that appears on theÂ Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups.
And as the embedded photo above proves, ADF’s business model is turning in to collecting bakers and florists and others who refuse to serve same-sex couples or have exhibited anti-gay bias and taking their cases as far as they can, while fundraising off them.
TheÂ Barronelle Stutzman case borders on the absurd, and the ADF and their attorney handling the case have not been shy about playing loose with the facts, while mounting a full-fledged fundraising campaign as they failed at every turn.
“We need 1 million brave people to stand with us by donating $24 today,” reads a fundraising appeal on ADF’s website. “If 1 million people each give $24, we can match the amount that the ACLU just added to their funds, which they use to sue people of faith like Barronelle. And thanks be to God, generous Ministry Friends have given a $2 million matching grant to help provide a strong legal defense for Barronelle and other Christians like her. Please stand with us â€¦ and with Barronelle by making a tax-deductible gift, that will be matched dollar for dollar, today.”
“Barronelle Stutzmanâ€™s continuing struggle to save her religious freedom should have every Christian in America deeply concerned,” reads yet another fundraiser on the ADF site. (Why do they single out “Christians”?) “But today there is good news that could impact Barronelleâ€™s case and others like it across the country. A generous Christian family has just given a $1.5 million matching grant to help provide a strong legal defense for religious freedom.”
In a statement published by The Washington Blade, which reported on the news ADF is petitioning the Supreme Court, Stutzman explained her refusal to sell flowers to her long-time customer, Rob Ingersoll.
â€œThere was never an issue with his being gay, just as there hasnâ€™t been with any of my other customers or employees. He just enjoyed my custom floral designs, and I loved creating them for him. But now the state is trying to use this case to force me to create artistic expression that violates my deepest beliefs and take away my lifeâ€™s work and savings, which will also harm those who I employ. Iâ€™m not asking for anything that our Constitution hasnâ€™t promised me and every other American: the right to create freely, and to live out my faith without fear of government punishment or interference.â€
Notice Stutzman’s statement claims losing the case will “take away my lifeâ€™s work and savings.”
In 2015 Washington State Attorney General Bob FergusonÂ offered to settle withÂ Stutzman for that $2000.Â She refused.
“Your offer reveals that you donâ€™t really understand me or what this conflict is all about,” StutzmanÂ wroteÂ in her response to State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Itâ€™s about freedom, not money. I certainly donâ€™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.”
Attorney General Ferguson made clear he wasn’t out to bankruptÂ Stutzman, as NCRM reported.Â
â€œMy primary goal has always been to bring about an end to the Defendantsâ€™ unlawful conduct and to make clear that I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,â€ AG Ferguson said in aÂ statement.
The case escalated. She was then offered an even better deal: $1001.
But along the way,Â Waggoner has repeatedly made statements like thisÂ â€“ which the right wing media has been only too happy to repeat.
Here she is in an ADF video:
Fox News, in 2016: “The 70-year-old Stutzman is now at risk of not only losing her business but also losing her life savings and personal retirement assets.”
“Barronelle Stutzman is now going to lose her business, her life savings, and possibly her own homeÂ for putting her faith into practice,” Fox News’ Erick EricksonÂ claimed, incorrectly, in 2015.
InÂ a 2015 Christian Post article, Waggoner made a similar claim:
“The lesson from the court’s decisions is that you put yourÂ home, your family business, and your life at risk by daring to defy a government mandate that forces you to promote views you believe are wrong,”Â Waggoner, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.
AndÂ in a memoÂ advising against a Pennsylvania ordinance, ADF claimed “the government seeks to punish Barronelle because she declined to violate her religious beliefs about marriage. Now she might lose her businesses, her life-savings, and everything she owns simply because she believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that her faith forbids her from celebrating any other view of marriage. Indeed, if she does not prevail in the lawsuit brought against her, Barronelle will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the attorneys who have been prosecuting her.”
It’s absurd to claim “a government mandate” will force Stutzman to “lose her businesses, her life-savings, and everything she owns simply because she believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” when she was repeatedly offered options â€“Â or she could have shuttered or altered her business to comply with laws and ordinances of the state she chose to license her business in.
This same “religious freedom” argument was used to convince people there was nothing wrong with refusing service to Black people.Â
Have we not learned?
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Supreme Court Responds Trump’s Request to Block Access to White House Records: ‘Denied’
The U.S. Supreme Court has ended Donald Trump’s multiple attempts to block access to documents from his years in the White House, telling the former president, request “denied.”
Trump had tried to block the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack from gaining access to those records. The Supreme Court, three of its six conservatives appointed by Trump himself, rejected his demand.
“Trump had lost efforts in two lower federal courts to block the panel from getting more than 700 pages of records,” CNBC reports. “He had argued that he had the authority as a former president to invoke executive privilege to prevent disclosure of the records.”
The vote reportedly was 8-1, with Justice Clarence Thomas the only one to side with Trump.
‘You Always Ask Me the Nicest Questions’: Biden Takes Down Doocy as Press Conference Nears End
About 90 minutes into President Joe Biden’s press conference, just as it was about to end, Fox News’ Peter Doocy called out a question and the President was only too happy to indulge him.
“You always ask me the nicest questions,” President Biden jovially responded to Doocy’s yelling, adding: “None of them make a lot of sense to me.”
Apparently desperate to prove him wrong, the Fox News correspondent declared, “Why are you trying in your first year so hard to pull the country so far to the left?”
President Biden didn’t get angry. He merely replied, “Well, I’m not.”
“I don’t know what you consider to be ‘too far to the left,'” President Biden continued, proceeding to rattle off a list of accomplishments that are pretty well-received and supported.
“In fact, we’re talking about making sure that we had the money for COVID making sure we had the money to put together the bipartisan infrastructure and making sure we’re able to provide for those things that in fact, we significantly reduced the burden on working class people but make them have to continue to work hard. I don’t know how that is pointed to the left. If you may recall. I, you guys have been trying to convince me that I am Bernie Sanders. I’m not, I like him but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat and I have been.”
“48 of the 50 Democrats supported me in the Senate on virtually every thing I’ve asked.”
President Biden then continued to take questions for a total of nearly two hours. The press conference is ongoing as of this publishing.
Fox News' Peter Doocy: "Why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left?"
Biden: "Well, I'm not … I'm not Bernie Sanders, I'm not a socialist, I'm a mainstream Democrat." pic.twitter.com/m7bj4Hq1nU
— The Recount (@therecount) January 19, 2022
‘Name Me One Thing’: Biden Blasts Republicans for Not Being ‘For’ Anything
During his press conference Wednesday afternoon President Joe Biden blasted the Republican Party, suggesting they stand for nothing.
“Think about this: What are Republicans for?” the President asked. “What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”
“And so, the problem here is, I think what I have to do,” Biden said, noting a change in tactics, “I have to make clear to the American people what we are for,” referring to his Democratic Party.
Republicans during the 2020 presidential election literally stood for nothing: they didn’t bother to craft a 2020 platform.
“What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.” — President Biden pic.twitter.com/b9V8NwUzwC
— The Recount (@therecount) January 19, 2022
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