“Artistic Freedom!” The new battle cry of religious people who do not want their lives or businesses tainted by anyone in that queer camp. Phoenix, Arizona has a non-discrimination law which has been working just fine. Now, a conservative law firm has found a business willing to be the poster child for an effort to knock down a law protecting LGBT people from discrimination with claims of artistic expression and “religious freedom.”
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski own a calligraphy studio in Phoenix, Arizona called Brush & Nib Studio. They make all kinds of custom art, including wedding invitations and other items marrying couples might use. They’re also evangelical Christians who refuse to serve same-sex couples. Even though they haven’t yet been asked by such a couple, they’re partnering with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to file a legal complaint in Arizona state court attempting to overturn Phoenix’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
This pre-enforcement challenge is based on the idea that if they refused to sell the same services to same-sex couples that they already sell to opposite-sex couples, they would be penalized under the law. And the law, they argue, infringes on their right to freely express their religious beliefs.
Basically, they just don’t want to have to follow that law. Not only do they not want to have to serve marrying same-sex couples, but they also want to be able advertise their beliefs on their website so that same-sex couples don’t even bother asking for their services. Most importantly, they don’t want anybody else to have to follow it either. They’ve filed a facial complaint, asking for the entire law to be thrown out and made unenforceable.
“Joanna and Breanna must live authentic, holistic Christian lives,” the complaint reads. “They must seek to honor God in all aspects of their lives, including all aspects of their work, and must seek to serve God and their neighbors through their vocation. As a result, Joanna and Breanna cannot do anything in their business that violates their religious beliefs or dishonors God.”
The suit outlines just what the pair believes in detail:
Artistic expression my arse. It’s outrageous for religious bigots to use this an excuse to legislate bigotry. There’s nothing stopping these people from painting “RELIGIOUS calligraphy” all over their storefront. There’s nothing stopping them from branding themselves as “Christian Brush & Nib”. Christian bookstores do this all over the place, and gosh, most of their clients are Christian. Who would have thought? Most people who aren’t bigoted assholes will choose to employ non-bigoted services. This is nothing more than a barely veiled attempt to turn over a non-discrimination law which is working well.