Wedding invitation company is allowed to discriminate against gay couples
Two Arizona artists who make wedding invitations, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, argued that an anti-discrimination ordinance in Phoenix, Arizona, violates their religious beliefs.
The 2013 Phoenix law includes “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” in the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. According to Duka and Koski, who own Brush & Nib Studio, this ordinance violates their religious freedom. The pair don’t want to make custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples because they believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in their favor in a 4-3 ruling last week. The Supreme Court said this ruling is specific only to custom wedding invitations made by Duka and Koski and is not a blanket exemption for their business. This means that they don’t have to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples but they are not otherwise allowed to discriminate in their business in accordance with the Phoenix city law.
“Duka and Koski’s beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some,” the court majority wrote. “But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone.”
After the ruling, Duka said their business will “gladly serve everyone but we cannot create custom artwork celebrating certain events,” according to CNN.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego emphasized that the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance remains in effect. Gallego said, “I want to be clear: The city of Phoenix does not and will not tolerate hate in any form. That doesn’t change with today’s ruling, and we will not stop with our fight. A core tenet of our nation is freedom of religion but freedom of religion does not mean freedom to discriminate. Personal convictions cannot be used as an excuse for outward bigotry. If you serve someone in your community, you should serve all people in our community.”
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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