Arizona judge rejects wedding shop’s challenge to ordinance that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation

An Arizona judge has rejected a wedding shop’s challenge to a Phoenix ordinance that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Judge Karen Mullins ruled last week that the city’s ordinance does not violate state laws, rejecting arguments proposed by wedding invitation designers Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who tried to get around the city law, the Arizona Republic reported.

The designers' lawyers argued that the city’s mandate would force Christian businesses to provide services for same-sex couples despite their religious views that marriage is between a man and a woman. Such requirements would violate the constitution.

The judge said that the ordinance does not violate the free speech and religious liberty rights of the women in the case, suggesting women still can exercise their religion as they see fit.

"The printing of same-sex persons names on wedding invitations does not hinder in any way plaintiffs' independent exercise of (their) religious belief by attending the church of their choice, engaging in religious activities or functions, and expressing their beliefs on their business website and literature or in their personal lives,” the judge wrote.

The case is expected to be subjected to an appeal, with ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs telling the Republic: “People shouldn't be forced to promote views that they disagree with.”