Arizona Artists Win Free Speech Case in State Supreme Court

Sep 20, 2019

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of the free speech and religious liberty of Christian artists Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski of Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix.

The creative duo creates custom wedding invitations and their deeply-held religious beliefs would not allow them to create invitations that celebrate same-sex “marriage.” Therefore, they proactively challenged the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance that prevents businesses from discriminating against individuals based in part on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to protect against future prosecution under the law.

While Duka and Koski believe that their stance is just a reflection of their desire to run their business based on biblical truths, the city of Phoenix countered that a refusal to use their talents in this way would violate its anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Arizona Supreme Court agreed on Monday with the business owners with a 4-3 ruling. Justice Andrew Gould, writing for the majority, said, “Duka and Koski’s beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some. But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone.”

Despite the jab of the condescending and patronizing description of their beliefs, these artists won a victory not only for themselves, but also for others like them, at least in Arizona.

However, the city of Phoenix will continue to enforce the anti-discrimination ordinance on other businesses. “The city of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance is still a legal, valid law and remains in effect,” city spokesman Julie Waters said.

News Sources

The Arizona Supreme Court Strikes a Powerful Blow for Free Speech and Religious Freedom
National Review

Artists Don’t Have to Make Same-Sex Wedding Invitations, Arizona High Court Rules
Courthouse News

Arizona Supreme Court upholds Christians’ right not to make same-sex ‘wedding’ invites

City of Phoenix, 18-4 Prohibited Acts (Anti-Discrimination Law)
City of Phoenix Code

Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix

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