When Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka started their custom art studio—Brush & Nib Studio—they thought they were fulfilling the American Dream. By combining their God-given artistic talents, they could create beautiful works of art to help their clients celebrate many of life’s most special moments, while also supporting their own families.
Breanna and Joanna serve everyone. Anyone can purchase their pre-made or custom creations. But they don’t create custom art for every event that’s asked of them. As Christians, they simply exercise their freedom to peacefully live and work consistently with their faith. This freedom is protected by the Constitution.
But Phoenix wants to take away that freedom.
Phoenix is using one of its laws to require people like Joanna and Breanna to use their artistic talents to celebrate events that violate their deeply held beliefs—such as same-sex weddings. In fact, Phoenix is also using this law to make it illegal for Brush & Nib to explain to customers and the public what they can and cannot create and why they must only create art consistent with their faith.
The penalty for violating this Phoenix law could quickly put Breanna and Joanna out of business—it might even land them in jail. For each day Joanna and Breanna follow their religious beliefs and disobey the law, they would each be penalized up to $2,500 and six months in jail.
Breanna and Joanna are women of strong faith—they won’t compromise their beliefs—even at great cost. But they also know that the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. The government should never have the power to force them to speak a message or celebrate an event that violates their convictions. Breanna and Joanna are not creative agents of the state—they are small business owners with rights to free speech and religious freedom.
That’s why Brush & Nib filed a lawsuit to stop Phoenix from enforcing its law against them.
Our culture should celebrate two young, female entrepreneurs who are using their God-given skills to add beauty to this world. Instead, the government is vilifying Brush & Nib because of their Christian faith.
Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has an opportunity to uphold their most basic freedoms. Yesterday, the court agreed to take up this pivotal artistic and religious freedom case.
The freedom of all Americans to live, work, speak, and create consistently with their beliefs is at stake in this case. And these courageous women won’t give up those freedoms without a fight. They know it’s not just their own liberty on the line—it’s yours too.
After nearly 10 years of courageous action, Barronelle and her husband Darold have finally decided to put their legal battle to rest.