Yet another Christian-owned business awaits Masterpiece decision

Friday, April 6, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

U.S. Supreme CourtWhile the nation awaits a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a Colorado baker, two Arizona artists are also waiting to learn the future of their First Amendment rights.

The ordinance they're fighting, meanwhile, can literally land them both in a jail cell.

The Arizona case involves Brush & Nib Studio, located in Phoenix, where owners Joana Duka and Breana Koski create hand-drawn invitations, paintings, and signs for weddings, businesses and everyday moments.

The problem? Phoenix has an ordinance that states Duka and Koski have to provide the same artwork for same-sex weddings, which the owners say violates their religious beliefs about marriage.

natural marriageIf the ordinance is enforced by the City of Phoenix, the artists could be sentenced to jail for failing to comply, says Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jonathan Scruggs.

"It's a criminal law," he explains. "So if you're found in violation of the law, penalties are $2,500 in fines, up to six months in jail and three years of probation, for every day you don't comply."

The artists filed suit in 2016, citing a violation of the Arizona Constitution and the state's Arizona Free Exercise of Religion Act, and their case is currently before the appellate court after losing in a lower court.

"And we are optimistic," says the attorney, "the court will vindicate the right of these two young artists, who just want to operate their business in accordance with their beliefs."

Masterpiece Cakeshop (entrance)The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in December over the Masterpiece Cake Shop, where business owner Jack Phillips was fined by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for turning down an order to design a same-sex wedding cake. A decision on that case is expected in June, which is expected to impact not just Brush and Nib but also others business owners such as Phillips who have fought - and lost - anti-discrimination laws in the courts.

"No one should be compelled to convey messages they disagree with," Scruggs argues, "and that's something that should really be a basic principle that Phoenix yet is still violating."

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