John Stonestreet on the Supreme Court of Arizona Defending Religious Freedom

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Arizona issued an important decision in the Brush & Nib v. City of Phoenix court case, another case located squarely at the intersection of religious freedom and the new sexual orthodoxy.

The case dates back to 2013, when the city of Phoenix, in the name of public accommodations, enacted an ordinance prohibiting any discrimination against persons based on “sexual orientation,” among other things.

The ordinance also clearly prohibited “directly or indirectly [displaying, circulating, publicizing or mailing] any … communication which states or implies that any facility or service shall be refused … because of a ‘person’s status.’”

In 2016 the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a pre-enforcement challenge on behalf of Brush & Nib Studio, a Christian-owned business that creates custom wedding invitations. What that means is though the studio had not yet been asked to prepare invitations for a same-sex wedding, it was only a matter of time before they would be forced to make the same kind of choice that people like Jack Philips have had to.

That choice, ADF argued, would violate Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act (FERA). ADF also claimed the advertising restrictions violated the proprietors’ free speech rights.

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, sided with Brush & Nib and the ADF. That’s good news. Even better news is that, just like the decision issued by the 8th circuit court two weeks ago, the majority opinion by Justice Andrew Gould was loaded with incredibly clear and helpful language about the nature of our religious freedoms.

“The enduring strength of the First Amendment,” Gould wrote, “is that it allows people to speak their minds and express their beliefs without government interference. But here, the City effectively cuts off [Brush & Nibs’] right to express their beliefs about same-sex marriage by telling them what they can and cannot say.”

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Source: Christian Headlines