Two Christian artists in Arizona may be locked up in prison for refusing to make wedding invitations for same-sex couples as per a state ordinance.
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who run Brush & Nib Studio, face a fine of $2,500 and an imprisonment of up to six months for each day they do not comply with a state law.
"A Phoenix law require[s] Brush & Nib to create invitations and other artwork for same-sex wedding ceremonies. It also prevent[s] Brush & Nib from explaining to customers and the public why they could only create art consistent with their beliefs about marriage. For each day Joanna and Breanna followed their religious beliefs and disobeyed the law, they would each be penalized up to $2500 and six months in jail," Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm which takes up cases related to religious freedom, explains the case profile at their website.
Judge Karen Mullins of the Superior Court in Maricopa City turned down the Christian artists' plea to suspend ordinance enforcement, and refused to allow dismissal of the case through Phoenix motion.
Duka and Koski appealed the ruling, and say that the city ordinance oppresses their freedom of religion and expression.
"Artists shouldn't be threatened with jail time and other penalties simply for making art that is consistent with their beliefs. That's why we asked the court to suspend enforcement of the Phoenix ordinance against our clients while their case goes forward," ADF counsel Jonathan Scruggs said in a statement.
Another ADF counsel Kristen Waggoner told Fox News that Americans should not be forced to compromise their artistic impulses to be able to earn their living.
"We don't force artists to create artistic expression under threat of jail time," said Waggoner. "Americans don't give up their constitutional rights because they want to earn a living and feed their children, nor do artists."
"No American, including artists, should have the government force them to create art against their artistic and religious beliefs," said Scruggs.