Anti-LGBTQ Group Seeks Arizona Supreme Court Review in Nondiscrimination Case

By Shane Stahl • July 11, 2018 • 12:37 pm

The Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ legal group who have made it a central mission to dismantle laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, have filed documents seeking review from the Arizona Supreme Court in the case of a business seeking to openly discriminate against LGBTQ people in Phoenix, in direct opposition to the city’s existing comprehensive nondiscrimination laws.

Brush and NIb Studio v. City of Phoenix involves a calligraphy studio owned by two women who are Christian and claim that the ordinance interferes with their religious freedom. The business often offers calligraphy services, including for wedding invitations and stationery, but have stopped offering the service since the Phoenix nondiscrimination ordinance took effect. Brush and Nib would like the ability to deny service to same-sex couples seeking calligraphy services for their weddings. However, the business has never been approached by an LGBTQ cople seeking their services, but instead seeks an outright exemption from the law in an obvious attempt to undercut an ordinance that protects people from unequal treatment.

On June 7, a three judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against Brush and Nib, affirming a previous lower court ruling that rejected the business’ attempt to subvert the law. In their ruling, the court listed a long line of cases in which courts have held that a business’ freedom of religion does not grant them an exemption from laws prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Included in that list of cited rulings was the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. The panel wrote in part:

“In light of these cases and consistent with the United States Supreme Court’s decisions, we recognize that a law allowing Appellants to refuse service to customers based on sexual orientation would constitute a ‘grave and continuing harm.’”

The Brush and Nib case is one of many legal cases that tackle similar issues as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled narrowly that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission erred in its handling of the anti-LGBTQ discrimination case. The opinion also reaffirmed the American value that businesses open to the public must remain open to all. Nearly all of the prominent cases centered on business owners wishing to discriminate against LGBTQ people are led by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Learn more about the extremist organization at www.truthaboutadf.org.

The Arizona Supreme Court has yet to set a date regarding whether or not to hear the case. To read about more nondiscrimination cases currently in the judiciary, check out our litigation tracker here.


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