In a razor-thin four to three vote, the Arizona State Supreme Court, ruled on September 16, 2019, that two print shop owners did not, for religious (bigoted) reasons, have to print wedding invitations for a same-sex couple.
The Justices did not rule on the validity of the Phoenix Anti Discrimination Ordinance which the city advocates claimed the printing owners violated, narrowing its decision to this isolated incident.
Unfortunately, as many, including fellow writer AZ Blue Meanie, indicated in his piece on the subject, this ruling can open a Pandora’s box to “future lawsuits” from reactionary advocates like the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Reaction to the narrow State Supreme Court Ruling in the case known as Brush and Nib Studio LC v. The City of Phoenix among Arizona Democrats has been swift and universally negative.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego
“Today’s Arizona Supreme Court Ruling on Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance was extremely narrow and because of that narrowness, there has been some misinterpretations stating that it struck down the entire city ordinance–that is false. Our anti-discrimination ordinance still stands and is going nowhere.”
“This ruling applies to one single business making one specific product, it applies to no other businesses in our city. While we may not agree with this ruling the debate on this topic goes on and Phoenix remains on the right side of history.”
“We all deserve to live in a city that accepts our individuality and our freedom of expression. A core tenet of our nation is freedom of religion. But freedom of religion does not mean freedom to discriminate. Our city has answered the question on whether we will accept discrimination at any level of our community and the answer is a resounding NO. That does not change with today’s ruling, our fight is not over.”
“View our entire news conference on the topic HERE“
Matt Grodsky, Communications Director for the Arizona Democratic Party
“The Arizona Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of a calligraphy and wedding invitation company whose owners claim their religion forbids them to sell to same-sex couples.”
“The conservative court ruled 4-3 that the City of Phoenix “cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance … to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski … to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.” The Supreme Court’s conservative judges were appointed by Governor Doug Ducey.”
“Phoenix’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance bans discrimination “based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.”
“This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for future cases regarding the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, this is what happens when one party has the ability to pack a state’s Supreme Court.”
“Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.”
Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Robert McWhirter
“America supposed to be about fairness.”
“The Arizona Supreme Court is just told the LGBT community they don’t get a fair shot in the marketplace – store owners can turn them away for a religious belief.”
“But the store owners benefit from public taxation to build the roads to their stores, provide their store police protection, gives a fire department to protect the property, and thousands of other things government provides. The LGBT community pays the same taxes as everyone else but they now don’t get the same benefit.”
“Freedom of religion allows you to believe whatever you want. But it doesn’t allow you to act in any way you want. Like any right, there are limitations. If the store owners had a deep religious belief a black person should not marry a white person, society would not now suffer the store owners to deny them services. But, the Arizona Supreme Court just ruled the LGBT community will continue to suffer.”
“Arizona is better than that.”
Congressional District Six Candidate Anita Malik
“This decision sanctions discrimination against the #LGBTQ+ community & undermines all of our rights. It’s extremely dangerous. Discrimination is discrimination. When you ban someone simply for being different than you, where does it stop? #Equality”
“Discrimination is discrimination. When you ban someone simply for being different than you, where does it stop?”
“Current state laws are inconsistent and variable, leaving millions of LGBTQIA individuals and their families subject to uncertainty and discrimination.”
“Federal protections are urgent. I will fight for the #EqualityAct.”
“Join me in urging Congress to pass this important legislation.”
Tempe City Council Candidate Casey Clowes
“This morning, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the owners of Brush & Nib do not have to make wedding invitations for LGBTQ couples. Like Tempe, Phoenix’s anti-discrimination law prohibits discrimination on the basis of one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Today, the Arizona Supreme Court weakened this law and created new pathways to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.”
“As a proud queer woman, I am heartbroken by this news. We know the fight is not over and Tempe needs a champion for equality. I am in this fight.”
Legislative District 11 State Senate Candidate Linda Patterson
“An Arizona Supreme Court ruling yesterday limiting the rights of the LGBTQ community to access the services of a business is just one more example of the existence of a far-right conservative culture war on our state. All Arizonans must be aware that limiting the rights of one of our communities threatens all of us. We can do better!”
“We must be aware that there is a small group in Arizona that is dedicated to limiting public access to anyone other than those who share their deeply held personal beliefs. These individuals are seeking the freedom to discriminate initiative that creates an unbridled culture war that is extreme and dangerous. And, it is supported by some politicians in power. It is not reflective of the will of the majority of Arizonans and must be reigned in before it threatens all of our rights.”
“A bright spot of this issue is that it invites all of us that believe in a representative democracy, equal justice, fairness and protection of our rights to stand up and express our views regarding the issues of discrimination. I encourage all of us to continue to work for a better state for all of our futures.”
Legislative District 23 State House Candidate Eric Kurland
Anita Malik’s comment (“Discrimination is discrimination. When you ban someone simply for being different than you, where does it stop?”) perfectly encapsulates the situation the citizens of this state and country face if backward reactionary state and federal courts continue (no matter how narrowly) to subscribe to the Trojan Horse arguments presented by pretending religious interests who feign devoutness to cover their ugly prejudices.
Cultural chaos would reign as:
- No belief system would be safe.
- No gender orientation would be protected.
- No ethnicity would be exempt from persecution.
Champions of inclusion need to recognize this situation as the potential catastrophe that could divide the people in this state (and country) and band together to stop the forces of backwardness, division and hate from festering further.
Featured Image from ACLU Arizona