Alliance Defending Freedom is taking its free speech and religion case involving Phoenix artists to the next step in the legal system.
Alliance Defending Freedom works to preserve and defend religious freedom, calling it "our most cherished birthright." Toward that end, ADF is representing Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix who specialize in hand-painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy for weddings and other events.
ADF filed suit on the artists' behalf against a local ordinance that forces the business owners to use their artistic talents to promote same-gender "wedding" ceremonies. The ordinance also forbids them – under threat of fines and jail time – from publicly stating religious beliefs that might "imply" anyone would be "unwelcome" in their business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow the lawsuit is designed to temporarily block enforcement until a full hearing can be held on the ordinance, which could force Duka and Koski to violate their faith.
"The question in this case is: Who gets to choose what messages an artist sends through their artwork – the government or the artist?" Tedesco says. "This question matters because if the government can coerce and compel artists to create art they don't want to create, then how are the rest of us going to be free of government coercion?"
If the artists in question are forced to promote unnatural marriage, Tedesco contends no one is safe.
The trial court judge declined an earlier lawsuit to issue an order prohibiting enforcement. That aspect of the case is currently going to an Arizona appeals court.