Two Arizona Christian artists face the possibility of being jailed, in addition to being fined, after they recently refused to make invitations for a same-sex wedding.
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski own a Phoenix-based stationary company that crafts wedding invitations, among other things. But they recently refused to create invitations for a same-sex wedding, citing a contradiction with their religious beliefs.
Now they’re being accused of violating a Phoenix ordinance that protects gay people from discrimination. The ordinance also prohibits the business owners from informing customers and the public why they can only create art consistent with their Christian beliefs about marriage.
According to Charisma News, the business owners face a fine of up to $2,500, in addition to six months imprisonment for holding to their Christian beliefs.
They’re being represented by a religious-based law firm, the Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs told the Charisma News:
We fully expect to have a hearing in the next few weeks on our motion for preliminary injunction and to have the Arizona superior court grant our motion and vindicate the free speech and religious liberty rights of our clients.
No American, including artists, should have the government force them to create art against their artistic and religious beliefs.
In addition, another attorney representing the business owners, Kristen Waggoner, told Fox News last week that Americans don’t give up their constitutionally-protected rights in order to make a living and neither should artists.
“We don’t force artists to create artistic expression under threat of jail time,” she argued.
Many Americans, especially Christians, would argue that their First Amendment right to freely practice their religion is increasingly being encroached upon, as more continue to be persecuted for believing that same-sex marriage is wrong and outside of God’s design.
Most famously, cake bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein had their business effectively shut down by the state of Oregon and were issued a fine of more than $135,000 after they refused to bake a gay couple a wedding cake in 2013.