Valley leaders react to Arizona high court ruling in Brush and Nib case

Sep 16, 2019, 1:01 PM | Updated: 5:51 pm

(Facebook Photo/Brush & Nib)...

(Facebook Photo/Brush & Nib)

(Facebook Photo/Brush & Nib)

PHOENIX — Valley political figures reacted Monday to the Arizona Supreme Court ruling that a Phoenix business can refuse to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples.

The decision overruled the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which bars businesses from refusing service due to sexual orientation, in favor of the two Christian artists who own Brush & Nib.

“Today’s decision is not a win, but it is not a loss,” Mayor Kate Gallego, a Democrat, said at a press conference after the ruling.

“It means we will continue to have a debate over equality in this community.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton, who was mayor when the ordinance was amended in 2013 to include sexual orientation and gender identity, called it a “shameful day” for Arizona.

“Today’s decision will hurt real people,” he said in a statement.

“And after so many have worked so hard to show that Arizona is a welcoming place for everyone, this decision will harm our economy by sending the unfortunate message that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is still acceptable by some state leaders.”

State Rep. Charlene Fernandez, the House Democratic leader, expressed concern that the ruling would inspire more lawsuits against Phoenix’s ordinance.

“Thankfully the decision leaves the Phoenix anti-discrimination ordinance in place,” she said in a statement. “However, be certain that this is just the camel’s nose under the tent.

“Without a doubt, the deep-pocketed extremist backers of this lawsuit will use it to help other businesses try to use religion as a right to discriminate against those they hate and despise based on who you are and who you love.”

On the other hand, Republican state House Speaker Rusty Bowers applauded the court’s decision.

“Today’s ruling balances the importance of nondiscrimination protections with the inalienable free speech and exercise-of-religion rights of business owners,” he said in a statement.

“This is a critical victory for the First Amendment and religious freedom, and I thank the court for affirming that the government cannot compel business owners to communicate a viewpoint that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Democratic Tempe City Councilwoman Lauren Kuby said she fears her city’s version of the ordinance may be in trouble due to the ruling.

“Tempe’s anti-discrimination ordinance, a ballot initiative … was overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2014,” she said on Twitter.

“Our city’s ordinance is under threat as well from this constitutional flimflammery brought by State Supremes.”

ONE Community, a Phoenix-based business coalition that supports LGBTQ rights, said it is important to point out that the ordinance still stands despite the ruling.

“This ruling does not mean that businesses can freely discriminate,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“This narrow decision only allows one business to deny a single product to LGBTQ people simply for who they are.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A woman will be arrested after a bomb was found at a Phoenix apartment complex on May 27, 2024. (AP...

Woman to be arrested for bomb threat at Phoenix apartment complex

A woman will be arrested for a bomb threat that was made at a Phoenix apartment complex on Monday, authorities said.

20 minutes ago

From left, alleged Arizona fake electors Michael and Kelli Ward appear with their attorney during t...

Kevin Stone

Poll: More Arizona voters think alleged fake GOP electors are guilty than innocent

The 11 Arizona Republicans charged in the state’s fake elector case appear to be losing in the court of public opinion, even within their own party, according to a new poll.

2 hours ago

Man dead after being struck by a vehicle in Goodyear...

Speed may have been factor in fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision in Goodyear

A pedestrian died after being struck by a vehicle that a juvenile was driving in Goodyear around 6 p.m. on Monday, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Southbound I-17 was closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix for a police situation on May 28, 2024....

Southbound I-17 reopened at Indian School Road in Phoenix after police situation

The southbound lanes of Interstate 17 were closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix on Tuesday morning for a police situation, authorities said.

5 hours ago

Refuge Fire: Arson suspect arrested, given multiple charges...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona man accused of starting fire in wildlife refuge near California border

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of starting the Refuge Fire near the Arizona-California border was arrested.

6 hours ago

A Porter Airlines plane soars above the clouds. The Canadian carrier will debut a Phoenix-Toronto r...

Kevin Stone

Canada-based Porter Airlines to make Arizona debut with Phoenix-Toronto route

Porter Airlines, a Canadian carrier, will make its Arizona debut later this year with a new nonstop route between Phoenix and Toronto.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Valley leaders react to Arizona high court ruling in Brush and Nib case