The lawsuit asked the court to give Joanna, Breanna, and Brush & Nib the freedom to create artwork consistent with their artistic and religious beliefs and to explain how those beliefs impact their artwork.
After two lower courts held that the government could imprison artists for politely declining to express messages that violate their beliefs, the artists appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.
“Artists shouldn’t be forced to create artwork contrary to their core convictions, and certainly not under threat of criminal fines and jail time,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who argued the case before the Arizona Supreme Court. “The government must allow artists to make their own decisions about which messages they will promote.”
Thankfully, the court agreed. It explained that it has “always recoiled at those governments and societies that repress or compel ideas or religious beliefs.” And it reaffirmed that “an individual has autonomy over his or her speech and thus may not be forced to speak a message he or she does not wish to say.”
Now that the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled in their favor, Joanna and Breanna are thrilled to be able to continue creating beautiful art expressing messages consistent with their beliefs without facing the threat of fines and jail time.