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Phoenix art studio owners sue city over religious violations from LGBTQ ordinance

PHOENIX — The owners of a Phoenix art studio are suing the city, claiming their religious beliefs are being violated due to a city ordinance.

The two owners of Brush and Nib Art Studio argued a city ordinance forces them to use their art, like hand-painted and hand-lettered calligraphy, to promote same-sex ceremonies.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the studio’s owners, said the ordinance also forbids the studio from expressing their beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“It violates our clients’ free speech right under the Arizona constitution to create art consistently with what they believe and also to explain their art on their website,” said Jonathan Scruggs, an attorney with the organization.

Scruggs said this is a pre-enforcement lawsuit, which allows residents to challenge a law before the government opposes it upon them.

“The law hasn’t been applied against them yet, but they know the law is going to be applied against them,” he said. “Rather than go to jail first and then challenge the law, they’ve challenged the law beforehand.”

In a statement sent to KTAR, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton voiced his support for the city ordinance.

“The Phoenix non-discrimination ordinance protects fundamental civil rights for everyone and we will defend it aggressively,” the release read.

Violation of the ordinance could result in $2,500 in fines and six months in jail for each day of the offense.

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