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Free (Artistic) Expression

Phoenix, Arizona — September 16, 2019.  Today, the Arizona Supreme Court protected the fundamental right of creative professionals to decline to write messages that conflict with their faith, concurring with the Amicus Curiae Brief filed by the Center for Religious Expression (CRE).

Christian artists Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski custom design, hand-paint, and handwrite wedding invitations and other announcements through Brush & Nib, LLC, their art studio.  Because of their faith and convictions about biblical marriage, they do not wish to use their artistic talents to promote same-sex unions.  But the City of Phoenix considers their beliefs to be illegal discrimination, threatening massive fines and jail time if they refuse to write that God blesses a same-sex marriage as they have said of opposite-sex marriage.

Joanna and Breanna sought relief from Arizona state courts, but found none, with both courts upholding Phoenix’s efforts to compel ideological uniformity.  Today, the highest court in Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court, vindicated Joanna’s and Breanna’s rights, ruling that their art and words are speech, and entitled to protection.  The court held Phoenix could not compel the artists to say something they could not say in good conscience, staying true to precedent, as pointed out in CRE’s amicus brief filed last December.

“This is a ruling for free speech and freedom generally, and CRE is honored to be part of this important victory,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum.  “We all have the right to write messages and create art without violating our conscience.”

Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.

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