By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star
Phoenix is fighting back against a Christian law firm’s claim to the state’s high court that businesses have a right to refuse providing certain services to gays.
In new legal filings Friday, attorney for the city Eric Fraser said there is no dispute about the heart of the case.
“If a same-sex couple asks Brush & Nib (Studio) for custom wedding products, Brush & Nib will refuse service, regardless of the wording or design the couple wants,” he told the Arizona Supreme Court.
The owners of the firm would make a plain-vanilla wedding invitation listing “Pat and Pat” if it means “Patrick and Patricia” but refuse to make an identical one for “Patrick and Patrick,” he added.
“That’s why this case is about commerce, not speech, art, or religious beliefs,” Fraser wrote. “Under settled law, the government does not infringe the freedom of speech or religion by prohibiting public accommodations from refusing service based on a customer’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.”
Put simply, Fraser said, if a business is willing to do wedding invitations, place cards and similar material for heterosexual couples, it cannot refuse to do the same thing for another couple simply because both are the same sex.
What the high court decides has implications beyond the Phoenix anti-discrimination ordinance.