State Watch

Arizona Supreme Court rules business can refuse to make wedding invites for LGBTQ couple

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Phoenix business can refuse services to an LGBTQ couple that requests custom wedding invitations.

The Arizona Republic reports the court ruled that the Phoenix ordinance that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination can’t be used in this case to force the artists to make the wedding invitations.

The state Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision Monday overturned multiple lower court decisions that ruled in favor of the LGTBQ community and in this case the couple.

{mosads}“The enduring strength of the First Amendment is that it allows people to speak their minds and express their beliefs without government interference. But here, the City effectively cuts off Planitiffs’ right to express their beliefs about same-sex marriage by telling them what they can and cannot say,” Justice Andrew Gould wrote in the majority opinion, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

An attorney for the city of Phoenix told the Arizona Republic that the ruling is narrow and does not strike down Phoenix’s anti-discrimination law.

“Today’s decision is not a win, but it is not a loss. It means we will continue to have a debate over equality in this community,” Mayor Kate Gallego said, according to the Arizona Republic.

The legal battle in question started in 2016 when Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, sued Phoenix, arguing that the city’s law violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion.

The two women, who design handmade artwork for weddings and other events, reportedly hold the belief that a marriage should be between a man and a woman and that creating invitations for LGBTQ couples would be akin to endorsing the marriage.

The women were represented in court by Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group that recently represented a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for an LGBTQ couple.

The state of Colorado and the baker who refused to make the cake ended their litigation in state and federal court earlier this year.


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