Filing a lawsuit was not on Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka’s checklist when they began making preparations to open their own custom art studio, Brush & Nib. But facing jail time for running that business according to their faith was not really something they anticipated, either.
That’s why Breanna and Joanna will take their case before the Arizona Court of Appeals today: to ask that the court invalidate a Phoenix law that requires them to create artwork promoting events and messages that go against their faith, including same-sex weddings.
As Christians, Breanna and Joanna believe what the Bible teaches about marriage: It is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
Under Phoenix law, however, they could face burdensome fines and even jail time for running their business in accordance with that belief. As if that weren’t bad enough, the law also prohibits them from publicly explaining that they only create artwork consistent with their beliefs.
Breanna, an artist, and Joanna, a calligrapher, want to reflect God’s beauty through their artwork. They create and sell custom paintings, prints, business logos, graduation announcements, wedding invitations, and more for clients and their special events. While Brush & Nib gladly serves anyone regardless of their sexual orientation and gladly creates art for countless occasions, Breanna and Joanna do not feel they can use their God-given artistic talents to convey a message or celebrate an event that contradicts their beliefs.
And they shouldn’t have to.
After all, if the government can punish Breanna and Joanna for disagreeing with a government-favored viewpoint, that should concern us all.
It’s certainly something that concerned Breanna and Joanna, which is why their case is in court today. They understand that the implications of their case reach far and wide, extending beyond Phoenix.
Just ask Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips.
Alliance Defending Freedom represented Jack before the U.S. Supreme Court in December, asking that it uphold his artistic and religious freedom. Jack’s case began more than five years ago when he politely declined to design a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. He offered to sell the couple anything else in the store or to design a cake for a different event. Still, the couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Now, the case has progressed all the way to the Supreme Court, where the decision could have national implications.
Artistic and religious freedom is at stake in both of these cases. And it is something that should be protected at every level, from the state courts to the highest court in the country.