PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Phoenix business can refuse service to same-sex couples, KPHO reports.
It’s a move LGBTQ activists say could open the doors to similar lawsuits.
Joanna Duka, who co-owns Brush & Nib Studio with Breanna Koski, declared a sweeping victory after the Supreme Court ruling.
“Today’s victory is not a win just for Breanna Koski and me,” Duka said. “It’s a victory for everyone.”
But that wasn’t the reaction of the Phoenix mayor to the divided 4-3 court ruling
“The city of Phoenix’s non-discrimination order still stands,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said.
Mayor Gallego pointed out the ruling was limited to just one business, and it does not overturn the city’s ordinance that protects people who are gay, lesbian or transgender from discrimination.
“Today’s decision is not a win but it is not a loss,” Mayor Gallego said.
LGBTQ activists raised concerns that today’s decision could pave the way for similar lawsuits that will chip away at the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
“We have had multiple hits against this ordinance and it still has stood. It’s still standing now but it is a problem…people will keep hitting it as long as there’s not equality,” said Deanna Jordan, executive director of the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber
While the ruling itself says it applies only to Brush & Nib Studio, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom said it sets a much broader precedent.
“It applies across the board to the LGBT artist the Muslim artist who can’t celebrate Easter to an atheist singer and to even a news journalist, I think, would be protected,” Jonathan Scruggs, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.