June 7, 2018

NEW YORK — The Arizona Court of Appeals today ruled against a business claiming a First Amendment right to deny service to same-sex couples.

The case, Brush and Nib v. City of Phoenix, involves a calligraphy business that turned away same-sex couples who had wanted access to the same services the calligraphy business would provide to heterosexual couples. The business claimed that Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance compelled them to create messages in violation of their First Amendment right to free expression.

Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU, had the following reaction:

“The Arizona court today rightly ruled that businesses open to the public must be open to all and cannot discriminate against potential customers based on who they are: in this case, members of the LGBT community. Importantly, the Arizona court also applied the Supreme Court’s Monday decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop here, affirming once again the importance of laws protecting the dignity of LGBT people in the public marketplace.

“We will continue to fight the dangerous notion that businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate in courts, in legislatures, and beyond. This decision in Arizona helps affirm that discrimination has no place in businesses open to the public, nor in our Constitution.”  

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