Two female Christian artists in Arizona who refuse to make custom-art for same sex weddings could actually be jailed for sticking to their religious beliefs.
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who own Brush & Nib Studio, make custom artwork using painting, calligraphy and handlettering.
They filed suit against the city of Phoenix, as a Phoenix city ordinance threatens them with up to six months and/or a fine of $2,500 each day they refuse to make the artwork.
First the women filed in state court to overturn the ordinance, but lost in a court of appeals, prompting them to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, which said on November 20 it would hear the case.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the women, asked in their petition:
Does Phoenix violate the Arizona Constitution’s Free Speech Clause when it forces commissioned artists to create custom artwork—consisting of words and paintings—conveying messages they object to and when it bans commissioned artists from publishing a statement explaining the artwork they can and cannot create? Does Phoenix violate Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act when it uses criminal penalties—including jail time—to force commissioned artists to create custom artwork expressing messages that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and when it bans religiously motivated speech?
The petition added,
“Their Christian beliefs forbid them from creating ‘custom artwork that conveys messages condoning, supporting, or participating in activities or ideas that violate their religious beliefs. For example, they cannot create artwork expressing messages that ‘contradict biblical truth, demean others, endorse racism, [or] incite violence.’”