December 2017 Church & State - December 2016

Ariz. Wedding-Invitation Designer Must Serve Everyone

  AU admin

An Arizona court ruled in late October that two evangel­ical wedding-shop owners could not ignore the state’s non-discrimination ordinance and discriminate against LGBTQ couples under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix in 2016, alleging that the city’s non-discrimination ordinance would pressure them to make wedding invitations for LGBTQ couples, which the duo argued is against their religious beliefs.

No LGBTQ customers sought to get their wedding invita­tions made at the studio, but Duka and Koski, backed by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Religious Right legal group, filed suit anyway. Phoenix’s non-discrimin­ation ordinance has been in place since 1964 and was expanded in 2013 to protect people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, reported the Phoenix Arizona Republic.

Judge Karen Mullins of the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the city’s non-discrimination ordinance did not violate the religious freedom or freedom of expression rights of Duka and Koski.

The decision in Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix was welcomed by city officials

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