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Arizona court allows studio to refuse LGBT customers
2019-09-16

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On Sept. 16, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the owners of Phoenix's Brush & Nib Studio do not have to create invitations for same-sex marriages, 12News.com reported.

The court ruled 4-3 in favor of Brush & Nib. In the majority were Justices Andrew Gould, John Lopez and Clint Bolick—all appointees of Republican Gov. Doug Ducey—and John Pelander. In the minority were Justices Scott Bales, Ann Timmer and Appellate Court Judge Christipher Staring, who sat in for Justice Robert Brutinel, who recused himself.

However, the justies in the majority added, ""Our holding is limited to plaintiffs' creation of custom wedding invitations. ... We do not recognize a blanket exemption from ordinance ( for the entire business ). Likewise, we do not ... reach the issue of whether creation of other wedding products may be exempt."

Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Law & Policy Director Jennifer C. Pizer said in a statement, "Today, addressing a narrow factual context, a closely divided Arizona Supreme Court issued a troubling decision that grants business owners a limited license to discriminate when creating custom-designed, wedding-related art work.

"The Court misguidedly has concluded that free speech protections allow businesses to express antigay religious views by denying particular custom-design services to customers because of who they are. This ruling is dramatically at odds with decisions by courts across the country that have instead refused to create a religious license for businesses to exempt themselves from civil rights laws, and to pick and choose their customers according to their own religious criteria.

In 2013, the Phoenix City Council passed an ordinance protecting LGBT residents from discrimination.


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