As a wave of lawsuits emerged surrounding same-sex couples, many religious Americans feared the potentially increasing prospects that they would face some form of persecution.
In Arizona, that could become a harsh reality, as two Christian artists face potential jail time for refusing to serve same-sex ceremonies.
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski filed a petition against the city of Phoenix, challenging an ordinance that could force their custom artwork business, Brush & Nib Studio, to do just that.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents the two women, announced that the Arizona attorney general joined many other officials in filing friend of the court briefs supporting their case in the state’s Supreme Court.
Watch them discuss the case below:
ADF legal counsel Samuel Green portrayed the case as an issue of free speech.
“Artists don’t surrender their freedom of speech when they choose to make a living by creating custom artwork,” he said.
“Just because artists communicate one viewpoint doesn’t mean the government can force them to convey an opposing viewpoint that violates their core convictions,” he added. “Yet that’s precisely what Phoenix is trying to do in violation of the fundamental freedoms that everyone should enjoy.”
An Arizona appeals court already rejected arguments the pair previously made, saying that the ordinance pertained to public services rather than speech. The judge, according to Arizona Capitol Times, said they couldn’t “use their religion as a shield to discriminate against potential customers.”