October 2019 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the owners of a calligraphy studio in Phoenix may use their religious beliefs as justification to refuse certain services to members of the LGBTQ community.

In a 4-3 ruling issued Sept. 16, the state’s top court ruled in favor of the owners of Brush & Nib Studio, who said they oppose marriage equality on religious grounds.

The court majority held that the act of “writing the names of two men or two women (even when the names could refer to either a male or female)” on an invitation is equivalent to government-compelled “pure speech” and as such warranted “strict scrutiny” by the court.

Justice W. Scott Bales dissented, asserting that “constitutions and laws do not entitle a business to discriminate among customers based on its owners’ disapproval of certain groups, even if that disapproval is based on sincerely held religious beliefs.” (Brush & Nib Studio, LC v. City of Phoenix)

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