The Coleman’s originally applied for the permit in Mesa in July 2008 and the zoning staff recommended it to be issued to them the following February. But the board voted to recommend the council deny the permit, saying that a tattoo parlor was “not appropriate…or in the best interest of the neighborhood.”
In 2009, the Colemans filed a lawsuit alleging that their rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection under both the U.S. and state constitutions were violated, but the Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed their case.
But the state Supreme Court said in its ruling, ”Recognizing that tattooing involves constitutionally protected speech, we hold that the superior court erred by dismissing the complaint as a matter of law.”
Reuters noted that the ruling does not mean that Mesa must allow the Colemans to open their tattoo parlor, only that the court erred in dismissing their suit. Cities do have the right to regulate the locations of businesses through zoning ordinances.
The article also said that the Colemans are seeking a ruling that will allow them to open their parlor and want compensation for lost business over the past three years.