Religion

Christian Calligraphers Oppose Working Gay Weddings

| by Michael Allen
Joanna Duka Breanna KoskiJoanna Duka Breanna Koski

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, the owners of Brush & Nib studio, filed a pre-enforcement lawsuit back in May to overturn Phoenixs public accommodations law in case they are asked to make invitations or similar products for a gay wedding, which they oppose based on their Christian beliefs.

Duka and Koski are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which lost in the Superior Court of Maricopa County on Sept. 19 in its request for a preliminary injunction against the LGBT rights law, while the lawsuit goes through the court system.

ADF lawyer Jonathan Scruggs said in a news release:

Artists shouldn’t be threatened with jail time and other penalties simply for making art that is consistent with their beliefs. That’s why we asked the court to suspend enforcement of the Phoenix ordinance against our clients while their case goes forward.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Because the city must allow artists the freedom to make personal decisions about what art they will and will not create, and because the ordinance’s additional requirement that artists stay quiet about their views is clearly unjust and unlawful, we we will consult with our clients about appealing the court’s decision.

However, Judge Karen Mullins wrote in her ruling that plaintiffs Duka and Koski were not likely to win their lawsuit, refused to give them the preliminary injunction, and said the only thing they were being required to do is to sell goods and services to people without discriminating against them for their sexual orientation, notes Think Progress.

Mullins added that Duka and Koski can publicly state their religious views against gay marriage, but are not allowed to announce that they are going to discriminate against same-sex couples or actively discriminate against gay couples in business.

Mullins said that making wedding invitations is not the same thing as expressive speech, and that it was "absurd to think that the fabricator of a wedding invitation for a same-sex couple has endorsed same-sex marriage merely by creating or printing that invitation."

Mullins ruled that printing two male names or two female names on a wedding invitation did not hinder Duka and Koski from "attending the church of their choice, engaging in religious activities or functions, and expressing their beliefs on their business website and literature or in their personal lives."

Sources: Alliance Defending Freedom, Think Progress / Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom

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