Brush & Nib Studio v. City of PhoenixTo book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at ADFmedia.org.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Description: A Phoenix art studio that specializes in hand-painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy for weddings and other events is challenging a city ordinance that forces the studio’s two young female owners to use their artistic talents to promote same-sex ceremonies. The ordinance also forbids them from publicly expressing the Christian beliefs that prevent them from doing so and that require them to create art celebrating only marriages between one man and one woman.
Artists ask appeals court to halt Phoenix ordinance that threatens jail time for disagreeing with govtOrdinance forces art studio to promote same-sex ceremonies, forbids them from communicating publicly about their views
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The appeal comes after a trial court judge declined to issue an order that would prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance against the studio or its owners while their lawsuit moves forward in court.
“Artists shouldn’t be threatened with jail time just because they don’t hold the same views the government does,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “We are asking the appeals court to reverse the trial court and suspend this ordinance while our case goes forward because the city must allow artists the freedom to make personal decisions about what art they will and will not create. In addition, the ordinance’s further requirement that artists stay quiet about their views is clearly unjust and unlawful.”
At the trial court, ADF attorneys argued that the ordinance runs afoul of Arizona’s Free Speech Clause and Free Exercise of Religion Act. Specifically, the suit, Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix, challenges Phoenix City Code Section 18.4(B), a non-discrimination ordinance which the city has construed to force artists like the owners of Brush & Nib to create objectionable art, even though they decide what art to create based on the art’s message, not the requester’s personal characteristics.
The Phoenix ordinance also prohibits businesses, including artists, from publicly communicating any message that “implies” someone would be “unwelcome” based upon the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or any one of a number of other characteristics, thus preventing many artists from explaining their position on marriage publicly without risking up to $2,500 fines and six months in jail for each day the artist violates the ordinance.
“We are asking the appeals court to ensure that Phoenix officials will have to respect our clients’ freedom of speech for the duration of this lawsuit,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “It’s our hope that the city will respect it permanently for these artists and any artists, regardless of the political or religious views that the artists hold.”
- Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Teh-DESS’-koh)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Additional resources: Brush & Nib Studio v. City of PhoenixScroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Previous news releases:
- 2016-09-19: Court won’t temporarily suspend Phoenix ordinance, artists may appeal
- 2016-05-12: Jail time for Phoenix artists who disagree with government?
- James Gottry: The war on wedding vendors is ultimately a war on free thought (The Federalist, 2016-11-03)
- James Gottry: How the government should punish Colin Kaepernick’s anti-patriotism (The Federalist, 2016-10-12)
- Jonathan Scruggs: Forced speech is un-American (Arizona Republic, 2016-10-10)
- Jonathan Scruggs: Brush & Nib suit about artistic freedom (Phoenix Business Journal, 2016-06-03)
- Jeremy Tedesco: Phoenix artists sue rather than create art for same sex weddings (Arizona Republic, 2016-06-03)
Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.