This French-American Couple Won A Landmark Legal Battle Over Tattoos

Ryan and Laetitia ColemanRyan and Laetitia Coleman

Photo: MySpace via angellaetitia

The Supreme Court of Arizona made history Friday by being the first state high court to find tattooing was protected by the First Amendment, Reuters reported.The verdict stems from the case of an American-French couple who applied for a business permit in Mesa, Ariz. for a tattoo parlor in 2008 only to be denied by the city council the next year.

The city council said the shop “was not appropriate for the location or in the best interest of the neighbourhood,” according to court documents.

Ryan and Laetitia Coleman, who work and live in Nice, France, sued the city the same year, claiming the rejection violated their right to free speech, Reuters reported. However, a lower court dismissed the case.

But the state high court reversed that ruling. “Tattooing is protected speech,” the high court ruled, according to the Arizona Republic.

Clint Bolick, who represents the Colemans, said the ruling will set a national precedent with regard to tattooing, according to the Republic.

“This is the first state supreme court in the country to rule that tattooing is a form of protected speech,” Bolick told the Republic. “That’s very significant. … We now know that in Arizona tattooing is a protected form of free speech, and that’s a victory for freedom.”

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