Christian calligraphers win in Arizona
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 9/17/19, 11:46 am
The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday ruled the government cannot force two Christian calligraphers to design wedding invitations that violate their conscience. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, filed suit in 2016 against a Phoenix ordinance that made it illegal for businesses to publicize any statement that could imply they might refuse service to someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law carried heavy fines and jail time for violators.
What was the reasoning? Duka and Koski worried that references to God and faith on their website could be construed as violating the law. The court ruled the ordinance infringed on the state constitution’s free speech protections and on rights guaranteed under Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act. The government cannot force Duka and Koski to create works of art contrary to their conscience or prevent them from publicly expressing the types of commissions they can or cannot accept due to their faith, the court said.
Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Lynde Langdon’s report in Liberties on the case.
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