Friday, October 27, 2017

Wedding Invite Designers Lose Challenge To Public Accommodation Law

In Brush & Nib Studio L.C. v. City of Phoenix, (AZ Super. Ct., Oct. 25, 2017). an Arizona trial court rejected challenges by a studio that creates custom wedding invitation and wedding products to the city of Phoenix's public accommodation anti-discrimination law.  Plaintiffs, because of the Christian religious beliefs, intend to refuse to produce custom designed products for same-sex couples,  The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that this violates their free speech rights under the Arizona Constitution, concluding that any impact on speech is merely an incidental, content-neutral impact of an ordinance directed at combating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The law survives the intermediate level scrutiny applied in such cases.  The court also rejected plaintiffs' claim under the state's Free Exercise of Religion Act, saying in part:
Nothing about the ordinance has prevented the Plaintiffs from participating in the customs of their religious beliefs or has burdened the practice of their religion in any way.
In a press release, ADF says that an appeal is planned.  The press release also contains links to various pleadings in the case.  Arizona Republic reports on the decision.