Arizona Court Refuses To Bar Enforcement Of Nondiscrimination Law For Anti-LGBT Calligraphy Shop

  Image by DejanSredojevic/Getty Images

Image by DejanSredojevic/Getty Images

This week, a trial court in Arizona denied a request by a calligraphy shop to bar Phoenix from enforcing its nondiscrimination law. Shop owners Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a lawsuit against Phoenix back in May claiming that the law violates their free speech and free exercise rights—and even could (gasp) land them jail time if they turned away LGBT couples who came to their store to buy wedding invitations. And the suit itself was preemptive— the City of Phoenix wasn’t threatening them with anything because no same-sex couple had sought invitations from the business.

The freedom of religion means these business owners can hold any belief about marriage, but it doesn’t give them a right to ignore laws protecting people against discrimination. So it’s no surprise that the court emphatically rejected their irrational request.

"It is absurd to think that the fabricator of a wedding invitation for a same-sex couple has endorsed same-sex marriage merely by creating or printing that invitation," the ruling said.  Moreover, the business owners “failed to assert even an incidental burden on the exercise of their religion.”  The court explained that the “printing of names does not hinder in any way [the owners’] independent exercise of [their] religious belief by attending the church of their choice, engaging in religious activities or functions, and expressing their beliefs on their business website and literature or in their personal lives.”

Exactly. This is just another attempt to misuse a state RFRA to trump laws that protect against discrimination. Moreover, it’s a manufactured, disingenuous attempt to claim victimhood . Even the involvement of ADF, the calligraphy shop's lawyers and the organization behind anti-LGBT lawsuits across the nation, demonstrates the true motive behind this suit: limiting the rights of the LGBT community. 

We will continue to watch this case as it unfolds. If a business has used religion as an excuse to deny you service, please let us know by emailing us at legal@protectthyneighbor.org.