December 05, 2016
If liberal activists get their way, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski won't be behind a counter -- they'll be behind bars. That's the stunning scenario facing the business owners in Arizona, where a Phoenix ordinance is telling the stationery company to write off their beliefs -- or else. It's a difficult to imagine, say the friends, who met at a Bible study and discovered they had the same interests. Eventually, they opened Brush & Nib Studio, which they describe as an "upscale hand-painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy company that creates and sells customized art, including for weddings."
Now their shared bond -- not for art, but Christ -- could land the pair in prison for turning down an order to create invitations for a same-sex wedding. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jonathan Scruggs, who's representing the duo, has made it clear: "The pair willingly serve and will create art for anyone, but they cannot create art promoting certain messages and ideas. For example, Brush & Nib doesn't create art that demeans others, promotes racism or objectifies the female body. They also do not create art that violates their Christian beliefs about marriage."
That doesn't seem to matter to the city, which is determined to use the long arm of the government to punish 53 percent of the population who believes in natural marriage. In an interesting twist, the Phoenix ordinance also bars the owners of Brush & Nib from "informing customers and the public why they can only create art consistent with their Christian beliefs about marriage." A year after the world watched in astonishment as Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis was imprisoned for her beliefs on marriage, the city of Phoenix seems determined to give Joanna and Breanna a similar choice: "go to jail, forsake their beliefs, or shut down their business."
That's not just wrong -- it's un-American. No one should have to give up their constitutional rights because they're artists or business owners -- or in this case, both. It also exposes exactly what this debate is all about: forced acceptance. When there are plenty of other options for same-sex wedding invitations (cakes, flowers, dresses, and reception sites), why should liberals be able to use the power of government to force Christians to participate?
Remember when President Obama sat down and told ABC News that "churches and other faith institutions are still gonna be able to make determinations about what their sacraments are -- what they recognize?" Neither does he. Or, for that matter, the rest of his party, which lit the same-sex unity candle with the same match it's taking to the Constitution. The hypocrisy is astonishing. Far-Left fashion designers like Sophie Theallet have no problem saying they refuse to dress future First Lady Melania Trump -- but where are those cries of "discrimination?" Christians turn down a job order and they're threated with $2,500 in fines and six months in jail! I'm fine with designers declining to dress the Trumps -- but I'm not fine with the double standard, when Christian wedding vendors like Joanna and Breanna are prosecuted.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.