Gay Marriage

Arizona's Supreme Court Rules Christian Calligraphers Can't Be Forced to Make Gay Wedding Invitations

Justices rule that invitations are expressive speech and businesses cannot be compelled to write messages they oppose.

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Calligraphy is a form of expressive speech, and therefore the city of Phoenix cannot compel a local studio to create wedding invitations for same-sex couples, Arizona's highest court ruled yesterday.

The Arizona Supreme Court determined, 4-3, that any attempt to use Phoenix's ordinances to punish Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka of Brush & Nib Studio for refusing to create custom wedding invitations for gay couples who were getting married violated both the state's constitution and its Free Exercise of Religion Act.

The contours of Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix are similar to others we've seen about whether bakers or florists could be forced under anti-discrimination laws to provide their goods and services to same-sex couples even if they have religious objections to recognizing or celebrating these weddings. Is the baking of a wedding cake or the arranging of flowers an expressive act and, therefore, protected speech?

In this case, the judges were assisted by the fact that the product that Brush & Nib provides is unambiguously a form of speech. The company prepares custom invitations requesting the recipients to celebrate and honor the couple's pending nuptials. They're explicitly describing how awesome it is that the couple is getting married. So if they have a religious opposition to recognizing and celebrating such marriages, then they're being forced to craft a message that compromises their beliefs.

That's just not acceptable, the justices ruled. Justice Andrew Gould wrote the court's opinion, heavily laden with references to previous state and federal court precedents on issues of compelled speech and commerce. The decision notes that not all business activity includes expressive speech, but that tattoos parlors and video game companies, for example, sell services and products that have been ruled to be protected free speech: "A business does not forfeit the protections of the First Amendment because it sells its speech for profit." While not all that Brush & Nib does falls under First Amendment protections, their custom invitations do:

Each custom invitation created by Duka and Koski contains their hand-drawn words, images, and calligraphy, as well as their hand-painted images and original artwork. Additionally, Duka and Koski are intimately connected with the words and artwork contained in their invitations.…For each invitation, Duka and Koski spend many hours designing and painting custom paintings, writing words and phrases, and drawing images and calligraphy. Moreover, they insist on retaining artistic control over the ideas and messages contained in the invitations to ensure they are consistent with their religious beliefs.

The justices determine that these invitations are much like that of the tattoo artist, and therefore Duka and Koski cannot be forced to make custom invitations for same-sex couples.

Note the emphasis on "custom." The ruling is also very clear that the shop cannot just turn away gay people or couples who want to purchase other goods or services from Brush & Nib—they do not have blanket permission to discriminate against gay customers.

Representatives for the city said they're looking for possible grounds to appeal. This might be difficult because, though the ruling repeatedly invokes the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedents, it's actually based on the state's constitution and state statutes, not federal law.

Eugene Volokh and Dale Carpenter, contributors to The Volokh Conspiracy hosted here at Reason, partnered with the Cato Institute to submit an amicus brief in support of Brush & Nib's right to refuse to provide custom wedding invitations to gay couples. Volokh and Carpenter took the opposite position as Cato (and the Reason Foundation, which publishes this site) in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court case from 2018 that focused on whether bakers could be forced to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple. For those who missed that case, the court ultimately dodged the issue, ruling 7-2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to serve as a neutral arbiter in the case and its members expressed religious animosity when making its decision. The justices declined to determine whether or not the creation of a wedding cake was a form of expressive speech protected by the First Amendment. Volokh explained why he disagreed with Cato and the Reason Foundation's position a year ago in our magazine.

Last night, Carpenter weighed in on yesterday's ruling at The Volokh Conspiracy:

Along with a million or so other Americans, I am in one of those marriages the calligraphers condemn. Free speech used effectively by gay-marriage advocates convinced large majorities of Americans to support the cause. Those supporters can criticize the calligraphers on theological, philosophical, and political grounds. And of course, they can readily (and, I assume, happily) take their business elsewhere. But those whose very calling is to put pen to paper should not be required—on pain of government-imposed fine, jail, or loss of their livelihoods—to speak in violation of their consciences.

Read the ruling here.

NEXT: How Did The New York Times Botch the Brett Kavanaugh Story?

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  1. Ugh, so disappointing. Drumpf’s America is literally The Handmaid’s Tale.

    #LibertariansForCompelledCalligraphy

    1. terrible hashtag……but not a bad name for an indie folk band

      1. Better than Flinging Poo and Playing for Time?

    2. It’s literally The Nazi PutinHandmaid’s Tale. Don’t forget the details!

  2. I haven’t read the amicus brief, but it’s interesting that Volokh took the “it’s expression” side here, whereas he took the “it’s not expression” side in Masterpiece Cakeshop. (IMHO it’s expression in both cases.)

    1. Writing with icing is different than writing in laser printer toner.

      1. You’re thinking of Alcazar Bakery (sp?), not Masterpiece Cakeshop.

        In that case, the baker refused specific text in their own hand, and offered to bake the cake and provide an icing bag and tools tot he customer so they could put the text on themselves.

        Phillips, on the other hand, made it clear that there was no possible cake, however plain and icing-free, that would have been acceptable to him.

        1. Sorry, I admit I have trouble keeping all the cake decorating controversies straight.

          Whoa… “straight”. I didn’t even intend a double entendre, but I’m totes leaving that.

          1. “Sorry, I admit I have trouble keeping all the cake decorating controversies straight.”

            This sentence would not have made any sense to a person who went into a coma 20 years ago and just woke up today.

            We live in a weird world.

            1. “…and just woke up today.”

              It is indeed, a woke world.

          2. Sorry, I admit I have trouble keeping all the cake decorating controversies straight.

            Which is funny because you managed to hit on the critical distinction between Alcazar and the others (Masterpiece Cakeshop and Sweet Cakes by Melissa).

        2. Phillips, on the other hand, made it clear that there was no possible cake, however plain and icing-free, that would have been acceptable to him.

          Not quite. He offered to sell the plaintiffs any of his off-the-shelf cakes. What they wanted, and he refused to do, was one of his custom designs for their cake.

        3. “Phillips, on the other hand, made it clear that there was no possible cake, however plain and icing-free, that would have been acceptable to him.”

          Patently false. He offered to sell them ANY cake in the shop. He declined to make one for them.

    2. yeah, so a cake (a work of art) is not artistic expression? what about the message written on it in frosting? can you be forced to bake the cake, but not to finish decorating it?

  3. Can we not just find a lunch counter that explicitly bans gays?

    This nitpicking over cakes and invitations is downright petty.

    1. Seriously. Find another damn calligrapher.

    2. Can we not just find a lunch counter that explicitly bans gays?

      They all do. Unless you’ve got an Adult Entertainment Permit, I think it’s considered at least a health code violation.

  4. It should also be noted that the ruling applies only to refusing wedding invites to a gay wedding.

    The local, state and federal prohibitions on discrimination based on race, religions, sex, ethnicity, etc. and so-on still apply.

    Which is, of course, logically inconsistent. If “because God” is a good enough reason to overturn the ordinance’s protections for gay people, it’s obviously good enough to overturn the ordinance’s protections for black, Jewish, female, disabled people.

    But the cowards weren’t willing to admit that their logic is that broad, and explicitly said all other parts of the ordinance remained in effect.

    1. Perhaps you can post the opinion you would have written?

      1. I’ve been vocal in the past that I’m fine with either ruling that such “conscience exemptions” are an out for all categories, or for sharply curtailing what is and isn’t a public accommodation.

        A decision on either of those grounds would be acceptable to me.

        What I am not fine with is keeping it a public accommodation and keeping protections for most categories, but singling out gay folk for being beyond protection of the law, as this decision did.

        1. I’m fine with it, it’s about time gays learned what it feels like to get fucked in the ass by government.

          1. … you do know that Lawrence v. Texas (2003) was less then 20 years ago, right?

        2. Are you sure about “singling out gay folk for being beyond protection of the law”? Seems to me it singled out caligraphic gay wedding invitations.

        3. but singling out gay folk for being beyond protection of the law

          They aren’t singled out by self-definition. *L*G*B*T*Q*
          Even then, by your whimsically poor-to-the-point-of-being-retarded standards; smokers are beyond the protection of the law, people with poor vision are beyond the protection of the law, lefties are beyond the protection of the law, gingers are beyond the protection of the law, short people are beyond the protection of the law, fat people are beyond the protection of the law, low talkers are beyond the protection of the law, etc., etc., etc.

        4. Quit whining. It doesnt single out gay people. It says that government cant mandate written expression in any form. Non-slavers should be happy about this.

          1. “Non-slavers should be happy about this.”

            Cannot hit that nail head more squarely.

          2. So, what does it mean, in terms of, say, a mixed race hetero couple ordering a wedding invitation? If the invitation is generic enough – no mention of race whatsoever – then, I guess, the caligrapher can´t discriminate. But what if some idiots wanted to put it in writing that Joe (Black) is marrying Susan (White)? Would the caligraphers be able to refuse, on basis of this ruling? It seems they should.

        5. How about you figure out the difference between an event and a person first.

        6. The whole problem is Civil Rights Laws to begin with! They stifle the Natural & Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Speech, Religion, Conscience & Association of Private Business & Private Property owners. Public accommodation laws are BullShit! In a truly free society, if one owns a business or property they should be able to serve whom they want to, hire whom they want to & rent to whom they want to & not even have to explain themselves!

          If private business owners & private property owners want to lose money, that is their right! Govt. should not force them to do anything here! Let the free markets decide!

    2. Shouldn’t they rule on the case that’s in front of them?

      1. If the details of the case only apply to the case in front of them? Sure.

        If the details of the case obviously have a much larger application? Then no.

        And this is the Supreme Court of Arizona applying the Constitution of Arizona. Identifying the broader application is easily within the scope of their duties and responsibilities.

        But nope. As is, if another calligrapher in the city of Phoenix says they don’t want to work with gay folk, it’ll be litigated all over again.

        1. I have not read the ruling, only the reports. The ruling seems to me to be about hand-scribed written invitations to a gay wedding. That’s not the same. Either I’m wrong, or you’re a mendacious fuck exaggerating the ruling to provoke outrage.

          1. Either I’m wrong, or you’re a mendacious fuck exaggerating the ruling to provoke outrage.

            I like how you give yourself the benefit of the doubt – if you’re wrong, it’s just because you were wrong and haven’t read the ruling. Oopsie!

            But if he’s wrong… my god, he must be “a mendacious fuck exaggerating the ruling to provoke outrage”!

            Haha, Christ…

            1. I know, right? He completely rules out the fact that EscherEnigma is a mendacious fuck whether Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf is right or not.

              1. There are endless possibilities!

          2. So to be clear, you think I’m trying to provoke outrage by arguing that this “pro freedom” ruling didn’t go far enough?

            That’s hilarious. But no, go read the ruling. It’s narrowly applied to only that one company, and only about refusing to do invitations for gay weddings. It explicitly says they’re still a public accommodation, it explicitly says all other parts of the ordinance apply to them. It’s just gay weddings that they got an out to, and it’s just them, no one else.

            1. Hey, you figured out what an event is. Thank god.

    3. You are correct, and this illustrates the continually shifting target of “protected class”.

    4. You make an excellent point. The truth is real religious freedom died the day that Congress passed the CRA. It is just that no one noticed because so few people if any even in the 1960s considered serving those of different races to violate their religious beliefs.

      1. No, it WAS noticed and debated at the time that the public accommodations section of the CRA violated freedom of conscience and association. It was decided that Jim Crow was so egregious that abridgement of those rights was justified to correct it. But, the acknowledgement that it was an abridgement of rights is why the definition of public accommodations was so limited in the original federal CRA. Since then, state civil rights laws and case law have greatly expanded what is considered a public accommodation, and therefore expanded the abridgement.

    5. How fucking stupid are you? They declined the event if a gay wedding. they’ve done invitations for gay non weddings. How fucking stupid are you?

  5. Justices rule that invitations are expressive speech and businesses cannot be compelled to write messages they oppose.

    Perhaps justices can now rule that income tax returns are expressive speech and individuals cannot be compelled to write messages they oppose?

    1. They did determine that money is speech…

      1. No they didn’t dumbass.

  6. Consumer goods like custom floral bouquets and wedding cakes are also acts of expressive artistry protected by the First Amendment. Shops who arrange flowers and bakeries that produce cakes cannot be compelled by law to do so for same-sex weddings if owners have religious objections.

    That’s the argument presented in an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court this week by the Reason Foundation (the non-profit think tank that produces this site and publishes Reason magazine), the Cato Institute, and the Individual Rights Foundation.

    But now how are people supposed to scream “BAKE THAT CAKE!” when nobody at Reason said that?

    1. By looking at what they did say and summarizing it accurately.

      1. Yeah Volokh (who is irrefutably part of Reason) didn’t say “Bake the Cake” he just gave legal reasoning on why you have to bake the cake.

        1. Well, maybe that’s what he thinks the law says as things stand now.
          There is a distinction to be made between saying that the law requires you to bake the cake and believing that it is appropriate for the law to force you to bake the cake.

          1. Stop bringing nuance into this, Zeb!

    2. Reaaon is never gonna fuck you, no matter how much you stan for them and cry about what people post.

      1. Fressen Sie bitte meine nackt behaart grosse schlange.
        BITTE sehen Sie auch den großen, hervorragenden Experten-Psychologen Phillip Zimbardo für Ihre psychischen Probleme. Aber diesmal versuchen Sie zu HÖREN!

        1. Interesting. You are also an idiot in German two.

          You have now failed in two languages. Care to try for three?

          1. German two? There’s a second level of German?

    3. Moderator: So the Jewish baker should have to bake the cake for the Nazi wedding?
      Johnson: That would be my contention, yes.

      I agreed with Gary’s earlier, but poorly communicated, stance that the baker’s should be able to discriminate based on anything so trivial as the fact that someone’s shoes are untied or they smell funny. But the above is diametrically opposite that. And whether he meant something different or not, when the moderator wrote the sketched out the story Simple Jack, Reason’s favorite Presidential candidate went full retard, subsequently equating wedding cakes with public utilities.

      1. Reason’s favorite Presidential candidate

        I didn’t see Rand Paul, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton in that video.

        1. Nick Gillespie
          Who are you voting for? I’m voting for Gary Johnson,

          Matt Welch
          Who are you voting for? Gary Johnson, because I am a libertarian.

          Jacob Sullum
          Who are you voting for? Assuming my absentee ballot arrives in Jerusalem, I plan to vote for Gary Johnson

          Scott Shackford
          Who are you voting for? I’m voting for Gov. Gary Johnson.

          Elizabeth Nolan Brown
          Who are you voting for? I will probably not vote—I’m not currently registered anywhere—but if I do, it will be for Johnson/Weld.

          Ronald Bailey
          Who are you voting for? Johnson/Weld. Libertarian-lite, but still libertarian.

          Robby Soave
          Who are you voting for? I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

          Jesse Walker
          Who are you voting for? If I vote, it will be for Gary Johnson.

          Apparently, Reason didn’t see Rand Paul, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, all three of whom probably would’ve given more libertarian answers, either. Bill Kaufman apparently saw Gary Johnson break both his own legs and faceplant. Thaddeus Russell, apparently saw Hanan al-Ferjani, Salma Mohammed Abu Hasina al-Ja’arud, and Fatima Aquil Salah al-Ja’arud.

      2. It was a very clear display of how at best Gary Johnson was a terrible candidate and, at worst, was just spouting libertarian talking points to get elected. When push comes to shove or he gets a moderately challenging question that has *many* exceedingly libertarian as well as *many* less libertarian answers, he somehow reasoned his way to one of the least libertarian answers possible. Not just “What is an Aleppo?” moment but a “Why shouldn’t the government force people to do business with Muslims?” moment.

        1. was just spouting libertarian talking points to get elected

          I don’t think that’s a thing. You don’t run as the LP candidate to get elected.

          1. I left the entire ‘terrible candidate’ end of the spectrum wide open for your consideration.

  7. “(IMHO it’s expression in both cases.)”

    I tend to side with that, as well, though, I admit it seems a lot more clearly “expression” in the calligraphy case, since they also compose the message and custom art work.

    I think it’s rather a shame that the courts seem to have to define what constitutes “art.”

    1. “I know it when I see it”

    2. >>what constitutes “art.”

      Guy on a wall w/no arms or legs.

      1. Russell, Matt, and Phil are highly offended by that remark.

        1. You left out Bob.

          1. And Skip and Lance.

            1. Bob and Skip? You mean the pair of swimming trunks?

    3. Well, they have to define art, if they’re going to take the position that only artists are free, and everybody else is a slave.

      1. Because it’s primarily progressives forcing people to go against their personal beliefs. Fixe that for you.

        1. Sorry that was meant for below.

      2. My art is sloth. Because everything else I do requires effort.

  8. All anti discrimination laws are a violation of an individual’s right to free association.

    1. Indeed

    2. Don’t let facts get in the way of righteous indignation.

    3. Yeah, it’s a shame that the argument is about splitting hairs regarding art and expression. It should be about the right to associate freely.
      At the very least, narrowing what counts as public accommodation needs to happen. Hotels and gas stations are one thing. But nobody needs a fucking calligrapher and being refused their services does no real harm.

      1. ” Hotels and gas stations are one thing.”

        Yeah, that’s where you step on the greased slope and somebody gives you a shove from behind, and you land on fucking calligraphers being conscripted: When you decide hotels and gas stations are something different.

        1. So, Black people in the 1960s should have been expected to tolerate not being able to travel because they couldn’t purchase gas, hotel rooms, food, and other services on the road? How long should they have been expected to patiently wait while “the market” changed that for them? Didn’t you read “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” in high school?

          1. As has been pointed out the problem with segregation was it was state enforced.

            1. I’m sure Black people would insist that voluntary, private Jim Crow was also a serious problem.

              1. You two have hit on the whole problem.

                Segregation was state enforced and voluntary private.

                We all agree it is immoral.

                How did both of those happen at the same time?

  9. “Wheat, for example, can contain up to an average of 9 rodent poop pellets per kilogram (or about 4 pellets/pound). ”

    9 Disgusting Things That the FDA Allows in Your Food | Live …

    https://www.livescience.com › 55459-fda-acceptable-food-defects

    We all (all of us eating mass-produced grain-based products at least) eat shit, whether we like it, or not!! It’s NOT just me!!! DEAL with it!

    WHY do I bring this up? Well now… Humans bake cakes using ingredients pooped out by rats, mice, and insects. The rats, mice, and insects did NOT consent to this at ALL! Many of them find humans abhorrent, to boot! If rodents and insects can be dragged into cake-baking-related activities, against their will, then why NOT bakers-for-gay-marriages as well?!?!?

  10. good lord, spend 10 seconds downloading a calligraphy font for your invitations you lazy a-holes

    1. Brush and Nib wasn’t being sued by anyone. No one complained about them.

      1. Damn them for being proactive!

      2. “Representatives for the city said they’re looking for possible grounds to appeal.”

        but they’re not complaining, they only want to control the calligraphers out of love and tolerance

  11. I guess I missed why Volokh has a different view on this. What’s the difference?

  12. bake that card!

    1. Careful, there are sensitives here who can’t tolerate that kind if speech.

      1. forcing them to compromise their beliefs by being here

  13. Seeing free speech defended is nice.

    I’d like to see the courts defend freedom of religion and freedom of association, but I guess that’s too controversial.

  14. What does this mean if a Westboro Baptist wants a calligrapher in Arizona to write an invitation to a party commemorating the anniversary of the church’s founding?

    Or the anniversary of their first picket in Gage Park?

    1. It means nothing.

      The ruling was ridiculously narrow, applying only to the one business, and exempting them only from the “sexual orientation” part of Phoenix’s ordinance.

      1. You sure are hung up on the gay aspect. Why no outrage about freedom of speech or freedom of association?

        What if it were a gay calligrapher who was asked to create something for the Westboro Baptist Church?

        1. You do realize that my chief complaint is that the ruling is too narrow, right?

          I’m not saying they should be coerced to do anything. I’m saying the judges were cowards unwilling to take the obvious next step.

      2. “The ruling was ridiculously narrow, applying only to the one business, and exempting them only from …”

        Judges and lawyers (the entire profession, especially including law professors who train them in their artificial but high-sounding narrow-mindedness) LOVE to make EVERYTHING as narrow as possible! Future employment security for lawyers and judges is their top-most concern! Simpler principles would mean fewer lawyers!

  15. and of course, they can readily (and, I assume, happily) take their business elsewhere.

    They’ve shown over and over that they’d rather be angry and force people to serve their cause.

  16. Yet there were three judges who dissented to even that narrow ruling.

  17. Brush & Nib Studio is well within its Constitutional and Christianity right to deny service to anyone they don’t like. I wonder what kind of service a heterosexual customer that has previously been married then divorced and again marrying someone else would get? The US Constitution is a good litmus test for weeding out the bad racist bigoted people of this great and wonderful country of ours!

    1. ^ Spoken like a true Puritan.

  18. This might be difficult because, though the ruling repeatedly invokes the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedents, it’s actually based on the state’s constitution and state statutes, not federal law.

    Didn’t SCOTUS just rule that you don’t have to wait till all rulings in
    State court don’t have to be exhausted before going federal in the PA cemetery land grab case. Would that have any bearing?

    1. It should mean that SCOTUS won’t touch it.

  19. These justifications completely miss the mark. How about instead of framing it as a gay rights issue like a brain dead liberal or like a religious rights issue like a brain dead social conservative you frame it reasonably like what it actually is, a property rights issue. The calligraphy shop is private property. They should be able to do any kind of business with anyone they want for any reason or refuse any kind of service to anybody they want for any reason. Until money is accepted, they don’t owe the potential customer anything, not service or even respect for that matter. Customers still have the right to discriminate and select who they buy services from or don’t buy service from and for any reason, but for some reason nowadays people forget that voluntary transactions require BOTH parties to consent.

    1. How about instead of framing it as a gay rights issue like a brain dead liberal or like a religious rights issue like a brain dead social conservative you frame it reasonably like what it actually is, a property rights issue.

      Because doing that would invalidate every public accommodation law. While that is a laudable goal, it is a not a goal that any court is going to endorse.

    2. a religious rights issue like a brain dead social conservative you frame it reasonably like what it actually is, a property rights issue

      You do realize that property rights as a or the moral imperative is an exceedingly religious view, and not even an exceedingly popular one, right?

    3. How about instead of framing it as a gay rights issue like a brain dead liberal or like a religious rights issue like a brain dead social conservative you frame it reasonably like what it actually is, a property rights issue.

      Because the main activist groups that are currently fighting non-discrimination laws are social conservatives who are okay with the status quo except the part where some localities include sexual orientation or gender identity.

      Or to put it another way… because the people fighting this battle aren’t your allies and don’t share your goals.

      1. Because the main activist groups that are currently fighting non-discrimination laws are social conservatives who are okay with the status quo except the part where some localities include sexual orientation or gender identity.

        Because, obviously, people who are passively content with the status quo leap to fighting no one for no apparent reason. You can practically picture the scene; a gay couple was just walking down the street, looking to get married, like their fathers and their fathers’ fathers had done since this country was founded. Then just when everything was about to end in nuptial bliss, these calligraphers pounced on them and forced them to force themselves to make them wedding invitations so that they could refuse.

        Because passively earning an income and defending yourself when attacked is fighting.

      2. “Because the main activist groups that are currently fighting non-discrimination laws are social conservatives who are okay with the status quo except the part where some localities include sexual orientation or gender identity.”

        Ya know, when fucking lefty ignoramuses make claims like this, you’d think they would provide some cites instead of just admitting they are lefty fucking ignoramuses without a lick of evidence.
        And yet fucking lefty ignoramuses like EE continue to post such shit.
        How long did it take to achieve such stupidity?

    4. Right to property and property in our rights.

      It’s all freedom of association.

      Religious rights means not only the ability to choose your religion, but also the the right to refuse to associate with people of particular (or no) religion.

      And if gay rights exist then the right to choose not to associate with them surely exists as well.

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  21. It is fascinating that burning a flag in protest or dancing naked in a club is obviously a form of protected expression but whether or not creating custom artwork for commercial purposes is protected is such a chin scratcher.

    1. For religious reasons, white people can’t own eagle feathers.

  22. Christians don’t have to make gay wedding invites, and gays don’t have to go to church.

    Sounds fair.

  23. “Is the baking of a wedding cake or the arranging of flowers an expressive act and, therefore, protected speech?”

    Let me reframe that issue: Is a *wedding ceremony* an expressive act and, therefore, protected speech?

    If not, then that means the Straight Police can bust in the doors and arrest Adam and Steve and all their wedding planners.

    Pursuing the analogy, the Straight Police would also be able to arrest the baker for “facilitating an illegal marriage.”

    After all, baking a cake isn’t speech!

    Of course, we have this concept in the First Amendment called symbolic expression or symbolic speech. In this framing, Adam and Steve’s baker would have the right to make a cake for the wedding, because that’s helping out in the creation of symbolic speech.

    But what’s sauce for the goose apparently isn’t sauce for the gander.

    Adam and Steve, we are told, can *compel* a baker to assist in their symbolic speech.

  24. Seems fair. Will you guys shut up now and focus on one of the real problems happening in the world?

    1. Yes, tony. People you disagree with should shut up and focus on the problems that concern you.

      1. That’s because I believe in evidence and proportional concern instead of making sure my every thought conforms to the psychotic ranting of a Russian lunatic.

        1. “That’s because I believe in evidence and proportional concern instead of making sure my every thought conforms to the psychotic ranting of a Russian lunatic.”

          Shitbag, here, claims an adult POV and immediately proves that to be a lie.
          Fuck off and die where you won’t stink up the place, you pathetic piece of shit.

          1. So I am both a shitbag and a piece of shit. Is that why people tell me I carry myself well?

        2. I know.

          It’s not like wedding invitations are as important as cakes.

          That’s the hill to die on.

  25. “Is the baking of a wedding cake or the arranging of flowers an expressive act and, therefore, protected speech?”

    Rule of thumb: If you’re paying somebody better at it than you to do it…then it’s art.

    “Note the emphasis on “custom.” The ruling is also very clear that the shop cannot just turn away gay people or couples who want to purchase other goods or services from Brush & Nib—they do not have blanket permission to discriminate against gay customers.”

    The evidence that they had, in fact done so, is notably lacking here. They also are likely not allowed to just murder people, but you don’t mention that.

    The wedding industry isn’t small. Can you think of a reason, outside of spite, for the idiots to demand this shop do the job rather than go to anybody else?

    1. That they don´t want it to become a common thing for businesses to refuse to do custom work for gay people. I´m not saying it is a good reason to sue – it is not – but it is A reason other than personal spite against the business owner.

  26. Sure: have you heard that there is yet another Kavenaugh accuser?

    #NeverForget

  27. “Arizona’s Supreme Court Rules Christian Calligraphers Can’t Be Forced to Make Gay Wedding Invitations.

    What’s this country coming to?
    People should be forced to do things that go against their conscience.
    Isn’t that what our Founding Fathers had in mind?

  28. Just for reference, what’s the counter imposition that signifies the Christian Caliphate has been enacted into law? Christian customers force gay bakers to make straight wedding cakes? Force gay calligraphers to print straight invitations in Times New Roman?

  29. Why is it that who you fuck is a political consideration in the first place, one might ask? How can something that isn’t a visible or innate characteristic, like say what orifice you prefer in sexual encounters, be a public accommodation issue under the CRA?

    Here’s a fun fact: You don’t need to ask a black or white person if they are black or white. You can see the difference right up front, hence the obvious potential for discrimination. Sure, there’s a lot of variety in there but it’s an obvious physical trait.

    How do you know if someone is gay, lesbian, or anything else at a glance? Is there a field on your job application that asks about your fucking preference?

    Last I checked there aren’t any more ‘civil rights’ being denied to gay people. A cake baker won’t bake lots of messages onto the tops of the cakes. For example, if I ask them to bake a cake that says ‘fuck the police’ with violent images of murder all over it I might have a hard time finding someone to take the job, especially if it’s a cop that owns the shop. Does that mean my 1st amendment rights have been violated? How about my rights under the CRA if I happen to be black?

    1. If you ask for invitations for the wedding of Gerald and Steven, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a gay wedding.

      1. Now, now, slow your roll there, caveman.

        Gerald and Steven could be non-binary.

  30. As I understand it, this is a narrow ruling that says a calligrapher can refuse to make a custom message for a gay wedding if they object to gay weddings on religious grounds.

    Can a calligrapher refuse to make a custom message for a second marriage if he objects to a divorced person getting remarried on religious grounds? Can a Muslim calligrapher refuse to make a custom message for a pig roast if he objects to pig roasts on religious grounds? Can an atheist calligrapher refuse to make a custom message for a gay wedding if he thinks Phil is just no good for Steve?

    Why are these cases simply between the gays and the religious when there’s such a larger universe of assholes out there?

    1. Maybe because that “larger universe assholes” is mostly in your mind and it’s primarily conservative Christians who are refusing business on these grounds.

      1. Because it is primarily progressives using government to force people to do stuff they know is against their personal beliefs. Fixed that for you.

      2. In the masterpiece cake case it was an activist who went bakery shopping to find someone to sue. In this case the city government actes without any “victims”.

      3. Do you really think Orthodox Jew, or Muslim or strict Hindu would be any more willing to go against their religious beliefs?

        1. That would be fine. Only white Christians are bad.

        2. “No true Scotsman”. Ten yard penalty.

          1. No, I am pointing out the limits of your argument. You’re framing this as Christian only argument, but it is an argument about how far the state can impose about a deeply held religious belief.

        3. Soldier, I agree, I do not think the defense and court decisions have relied on the religion so much in the wedding cases or those like this.

          Narrow as has been pointed out it, is the art of creative work.

          If you do something creative, how do you define that aside, you create wedding cakes, floral arrangements, music, art, photography, calligraphy, catering menu planned and arranged, those are not standard doughnuts in the shelf. Having paid for all at one time that I know. They charge much more.

          Government cannot go there because, you get official government regulation of what is broadly termed art.

          As Groucho said.

          “Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… now you tell me what you know.”

          While the line seems narrow over time it will just not be worth it to go for these expensive wasteful lawsuits.

          1. I was making a repudiation of his assertion that it is a Christian only issue.

            1. I thought I agreed with you.

      4. Maybe because that “larger universe assholes” is mostly in your mind and it’s primarily conservative Christians who are refusing business on these grounds.

        Actually….no.

        Muslims also refuse this business. VERY forcefully

        A few youtubers tested it.

        The alphabet people don’t harass people who might actually fight back so you haven’t seen a wave of sued Muslim businesses.

      5. Fuck. Off. Asshat.

        The case was decided on free speech not the free exercise of religion. The calligraphers won because everyone has the right, God-given or not, to tell you to go fuck yourself.

        After you wade through the socialists, the unionists, and the Jews, you should expect to be greeted by armed Christians.

        1. Oh armed are you?

          Like you invented that.

  31. “…The Arizona Supreme Court determined, 4-3,…”

    Three of the justices need to be tried for public stupidity.

  32. I’m amazed that this is still even an issue. Nobody is entitled to the labor of anyone else, period.

  33. Not a big deal. The case of the pharmacist at the only drug store for miles who won’t dispense birth control due to their “Christian beliefs” there is more of a problem. If you don’t want to dispense hormones for transgenders, birth control for single people because you’re orthodox Catholic, or you don’t want to dispense anti-depressants because you’re a Scientologist you should get out of the business of being a pharmacist.

    1. So you’re in favor of restricting people to certain careers based upon their beliefs. That sounds totally in line with enlightenment and freedom of the individual.

      1. I agree with that soldiermedic.

        One should be able to restrict practice for any reason. If Walgreens will not hire a pharmacist because the person will not dispense a certain drug that seems fair.

    2. If you don’t want to dispense hormones for transgenders…because you’re orthodox Catholic

      Or how ’bout just because your ethics won’t allow you to intentionally harm your customers? Primum non nocere.

      1. “how ’bout just because your ethics won’t allow you to intentionally harm your customers? Primum non nocere.”

        No, he’s perfectly comfortable telling bona fide members of a learned profession that they don’t get to decide on such matters.

    3. “… the only drug store for miles…”

      So rights only exist when they are convenient.

      Boy, that’s libertarian AF.

      1. Hey, what if the is no drug store for miles?

        You gonna march a pharmacist in at gunpoint to serve there?

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