Barronelle Stutzman and her attorney – Alliance Defending Freedom’s Kristen Waggoner – are interviewed by Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) President Cathi Herrod. CAP is a sister-organization to the PA Family Institute. Here are highlights from the interview:
Waggoner: Christians and people of all faith and people of no faith have the right to live and work consistent with their core convictions.
Question: We keep hearing in the media that this is a refusal to provide services. That this is mean-spirited…how do we respond?
Waggoner: I say exhibit #1 – Barronelle, and the other defendants across this nation, you meet them and you’re overcome with their meekness, their humility and their love for other people. She did not discriminate based on sexual orientation. She served this man for nearly a decade and considered him a friend. It was an event that she declined to participate in and that’s a key distinction.
“[The Attorney General] sued her in her personal capacity – not just her business but her personal assets are at risk. That means she’s going to lose everything she has if she doesn’t prevail in an appeal.”
Question: Barronelle, what’s this experience been like for you?
Stutzman: It’s been an eye-opening experience. For one, the hate mail and the threats that we’ve received: I learned a whole bunch of new words that I had to look up and they weren’t very nice.
The other thing I’ve learned is that our First Amendment right is just being trampled on. The judge told me that I can have my religion but I can’t practice it. So that’s like saying I’m in the four walls of the church but once I leave the church I can’t be a Christian or run my business. That’s like telling Rob and Curt they can be a homosexual couple inside their four walls but once they leave their home they can’t do that anymore. It’s very terrifying.
Question: The Attorney General offered you a deal – pay a small fine, stop discriminating and he would dismiss the suit. You said no. Speak to why you said no.
Stutzman: That’s not a deal. The deal was give up your freedom and do same-sex weddings or I will take everything I have, that we have – our retirement, our home, our business if you don’t go along with my agenda. I have eight kids and twenty-two grandkids – it’s not just about my freedom. It’s about all of our freedoms. And it’s me today but it’s going to be you tomorrow. You have to take a stand – you have to wake up.