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On Wednesday, Alliance Defending Freedom filed an appeal in Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix. This is in response to losing their case in Arizona Superior Court. It is the usual bullshit. A Christian business that designs wedding invitations simply cannot do so for gay couples due to their ♫ sincerely held religious beliefs. ♫ The owners are Joanna E. Duka and Breanna K. Koski who live in Phoenix and Glendale respectively:

The business location:

Glendale? That is an inconvenience for ADF because the City of Glendale has no nondiscrimination law protecting LGBT people. The fact that a partner lives in Phoenix seems irrelevant. As far as I can tell they were never asked to substantiate that they do any business in Phoenix which is about six miles from Glendale.

According to the pleading in the appeal:

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski are Christian artists who own and operate
a Phoenix art studio called Brush & Nib Studio, LC.

There are myriad possibilities. Nevertheless it is a legitimate line of inquiry. It looks to me like that could choose to be located in either city. Would their problem be solved, at least for the time being, if they changed their mailing address?

Later on in the pleading:

As a Phoenix business, Brush & Nib is subject to Phoenix City Code
§ 18-4(B), which prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating
based on sexual orientation. § 18-4(B)(1)-(3); App. 15, 18 n.2 (noting that Brush
& Nib is “a place of public accommodation as defined by” § 18-3). Even though
Joanna and Breanna do not consider the sexual orientation of their prospective
clients, and instead consider whether their beliefs allow them to promote the
message of requested custom artwork …

Getting past the issue of locale, Brush & Nib wants to put a statement on their website to the effect that gay couples are unwelcome which would constitute a violation of the ordinance. Just to give you an idea of the inanity of the insanity they actually claim that it is unfair because there are no restrictions on statements condoning same-sex marriage. For the most part they are repeating the same losing arguments that they trotted out for Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State.

The folks at Brush & Nib do not respond to email. Presumably they just pass it on to Jeremy Tedesco at ADF. I would love to ask them: “Was it really worth it?” I also wonder if they believe their own bullshit. In designing a wedding invitation for a gay couple do they really believe that they would be “promoting” and participating in a same-sex marriage? Or are they just martyrs for the faith? They get some attention and have the opportunity to demonstrate their disapproval. It doesn’t cost them anything in the way of legal fees. I wonder what it has cost them in lost business.

For their part, ADF solicits clients. But they do more; ADF also solicits litigation through a network of pastors and religious groups. In other words, these women probably did not decide to sue the City of Phoenix and then find a lawyer. The greater probability is that the lawyer came first and it was ADF’s idea to sue the city of Phoenix. They are probably trolling for clients where similar  nondiscrimination ordinances exist.

Tax-deductible contributions fuel this enterprise which causes tax dollars to be wasted in defense of frivolous litigation. Eventually this has to come around and bite them in the ass.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.