Phoenix, Arizona — December 20, 2018. The Center for Religious Expression filed an amicus curiae brief asking the Arizona Supreme Court to defend the fundamental right of creative professionals not to write words that conflict with their faith.
Christian artists Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski operate Brush and Nib Studio, an art studio through which they custom design, hand-paint, and handwrite invitations and décor for special events, including weddings. Due to their Christian convictions, they do not want to produce messages celebrating same-sex marriage, but according to the City of Phoenix, their decision not to do so is illegal discrimination. The City insists that Joanna and Breanna write that God blesses same-sex marriage, because they write the same about opposite-sex marriage.
So far, Arizona state courts have supported the City’s strong-arm tactics. Joanna and Breanna are now turning to the Arizona Supreme Court to vindicate their rights, and CRE has filed an amicus brief to ensure that they are vindicated. CRE’s brief points out the wide consensus recognizing the protection afforded words – to say them or not. Although members of the U.S. Supreme Court differed in many respects in the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, every single Justice acknowledged that words cannot be compelled under the First Amendment. Citizens, not the government, have the right to decide what to say and what not to say.
“The Arizona Supreme Court must decide whether antidiscrimination laws can nullify free speech,” Chief Counsel Nate Kellum surmised. “For all our sakes, it is crucial they rule in favor of the First Amendment. Words matter.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.