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The Latest: Court mulls Phoenix’s discrimination ordinance

January 22, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the Arizona Supreme Court hearing arguments Tuesday over the constitutionality of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance (all times local):

3:03 p.m.

Lawyers squared off Tuesday at the Arizona Supreme Court over whether two Christian artists who make wedding invitations as part of their business can refuse service to same-sex couples for religious reasons.

An attorney for artists Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski argued complying with Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance would violate their clients’ free-speech and exercise-of-religion rights by forcing them to custom-make products for same-sex weddings.

They believe a marriage should be between only a man and woman.

The city contends the courts shouldn’t create a blanket exception that allows them to discriminate against a class of people.

So far, two courts have upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance.

10:15 p.m.

Lawyers are scheduled Tuesday to argue at the Arizona Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance that bars businesses from refusing service to same-sex couples for religion reasons.

Two Christian artists who operate a business that makes invitations and other wedding-related items argue that the ordinance will violate their religious beliefs by forcing them to custom-make products for same-sex marriage ceremonies.

So far, two courts have upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance and rejected the arguments made by the artists, who believe a marriage should be between a man and woman.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled this summer that while the ordinance may have an incidental effect on free speech, its main purpose is to prohibit discrimination. The appeals court concluded the ordinance regulates conduct, not speech.