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Arizona Supreme Court rules that Christian company does not have to make invitations for LGBT weddings

The court ruled that the invitations were protected by the First Amendment

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that two women who run an invitation company do not have to create content for LGBT weddings.

What happened?

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski started and run their wedding invitation company, "Brush and Nib," in Phoenix. Through this company, they sell hand-drawn invitations.

While other Christian companies only entered a legal battle once they were personally sued by people who had been refused service for their same-sex weddings, Duka and Koski decided to preemptively bring their case before the courts themselves.

Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing the women, said in a statement that Duka and Koski were faced "with an impossible choice." A non-discrimination law in the city required them to accept work orders from all weddings or face fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum six months in jail.

"They didn't want to go to jail and pay $2,500 for each day they failed to comply," ADF said. "They didn't want to close the business they poured so much into. But the alternative wasn't doable. They could not compromise their artistic and religious beliefs. They could not accept sitting down in their studio and hand-drawing artwork that contradicted who they are and what they hold dear."

What did the courts say?

Duka and Koski lost their initial bid in a lower court, but that setback was reversed when the Arizona Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the law violated their free speech. However, this ruling was narrow and applied only to the hand-made invites, which the court said fell under freedom of speech, and not anything else they might do.

"Duka and Koski's beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some," the majority in the court wrote, according to The Associated Press. "But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone."

One last thing…
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