In late December of 2018, we shared a story about Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski. These Christian women were under attack by the city of Phoenix. They declined a job to make custom wedding invitations for a same-sex couple. The city cited them, and they sued.
In Brush & Nib Studios, LC v. City of Phoenix the Arizona State Supreme Court has ruled that,
The rights of free speech and free exercise, so precious to this nation since its founding, are not limited to soft murmurings behind the doors of a person’s home or church, or private conversations with like–minded friends and family. These guarantees protect the right of every American to express their beliefs in public. This includes the right to create and sell words, paintings, and art that express a person’s sincere religious beliefs.
Put simply; Phoenix can’t compel art any more than they can compel speech (or wedding cakes). It’s in the Arizona State Constitution, which Phoenix either did not read or ignored.
With these fundamental principles in mind, today we hold that the City of Phoenix … cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance … to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studios, LC …, to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Duka, Koski, and Brush & Nib … have the right to refuse to express such messages under article 2, section 6 of the Arizona Constitution [which protects the freedom of speech and of the press], as well as Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act ….
These cases have consistently been losers for the Social Justice Culture Club. Mostly thanks to the work of privately funded legal groups who step up to defend folks who are under attack by the so-called diversity, equity, and anti-discrimination commissions.
Duka and Koski faced jail time and up to $2,500 in fines for each day they refused to ignore their religious convictions. They sued instead.
Our holding is limited to Plaintiffs’ creation of custom wedding invitations that are materially similar to those contained in the record. We do not recognize a blanket exemption from the Ordinance for all of Plaintiffs’ business operations. Likewise, we do not, on jurisprudential grounds, reach the issue of whether Plaintiffs’ creation of other wedding products may be exempt from the Ordinance.
Meaning, they can’t deny service on the grounds someone is gay. But I’ve yet to encounter a case like this where that happened. Masterpiece cakeshop served anyone and everyone. It was only the custom creations that were a matter of dispute concerning religious conscience.
So, Phoenix can still bully local businesses to their heart’s content. Then spend whatever pretty sum of tax dollars is required to march through the court system every time this happens. And they will. Because the goal is not to protect individuals from discrimination it is to institutionalize it with bias in a manner most becoming to the progressive agenda.
To silence speech and expression they oppose.
That’s why I continually decry New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s obsessive desire to carry the Left’s water on these issues. And I will continue to do that. Because the goal is to unravel the first amendment. And they will never grow weary of trying.