A pair of Arizona artists are suing for the right to refuse to design invitations and artwork for same-sex weddings.
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, co-owners of art and calligraphy business Brush and Nib Studio, say Phoenix’s inclusive anti-discrimination statute infringes on their First Amendment rights. The duo, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, didn’t wait for a same-sex couple to request their work before beginning their legal campaign.
They lost their initial case, with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins ruling that they were still free to express their opinions about same-sex marriage, just not deny services to same-sex couples based on those beliefs.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, who are is also defending Masterpiece Bakery’s Jack Phillips in his Supreme Court case, pledged to appeal the decision.
Opening arguments are scheduled today at the Arizona Court of Appeals.
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“This case is really about the right of all Americans to speak in accordance with their beliefs,” ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs told NBC 12 News.
Scruggs said his clients have received two same-sex marriage related business requests and simply did not respond.
The White House has sided with business owners claiming religious beliefs outweigh public accommodations laws, and has endorsed so-called religious freedom laws that enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination.