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Arizona Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Christian Business Owners

Dear Clients and Friends,

Two days ago the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of two Christian business owners who were sued by the City of Phoenix for not designing a gay couple’s wedding invitations.

A little background about the business owners. “Duka and Koski are the sole member-owners of Brush & Nib, a for-profit limited liability company. Duka and Koski operate Brush & Nib as an “art studio” specializing in creating custom artwork for weddings, events, special occasions, home décor, and businesses. Duka and Koski work out of Koski’s home and personally design and create their products. In addition to custom-designed products, Brush & Nib sells some pre-made products. Duka and Koski do not maintain Brush & Nib as a brick-and mortar store but instead sell their products online through various media platforms. Duka and Koski are Christians. Based on their faith, they do not believe they can do anything, either in their business or personal lives, that “violates their religious beliefs or dishonors God….  Thus, in addition to making a profit, Duka and Koski seek to operate Brush & Nib consistent with their religious beliefs.”

The City of Phoenix made this argument against them. “The City argues, however, that the Ordinance, as applied to Plaintiffs’ custom wedding invitations, regulates conduct, not speech. Thus, by refusing to create or sell such invitations for use in same-sex weddings, the City contends that Plaintiffs are engaging in discriminatory conduct prohibited by the Ordinance.”

The Court did not agree. I am attaching a copy of the Court Opinion below for your review and it will be posted on my blog. Some highlights are as follows:

Today we hold that the City of Phoenix (the “City”) cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studios, LC (“Brush & Nib”), to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“Duka and Koski’s beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some. But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone”

“Given this reality, the government must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions.”

This is a great victory for Christians in the work place.

Here is the full Supreme Court Opinion: Brush and Nib Studio LC v. City of Phoenix

Rev. John P. Joseph, Esq. CCA

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