Two Christian business owners in the US are faced with imprisonment and fines after refusing to use their artistic talents to create invitations for a same-sex wedding.
Graphic designers Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski run a stationery company called Brush & Nib Studio that makes invitations for different events, including weddings.
Their story is the latest in a series of legal cases in the US where Christians are being forced to comply with pro-LGBT laws.
’Beliefs about marriage’
They have been accused of violating laws which require Christians to cater for all customer requests, including those made by same-sex couples.
The Phoenix non-discrimination ordinance also prevents them from explaining to customers and the public why they could only create art consistent with their beliefs about marriage.
There is now the threat of a $2,500 fine and possible imprisonment for up to six months for refusing to comply.
They are being supported in their legal case by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty group.
Jonathan Scruggs of the ADF said: “We fully expect to have a hearing in the next few weeks on our motion for preliminary injunction and to have the Arizona superior court grant our motion and vindicate the free speech and religious liberty rights of our clients”.
“No American, including artists, should have the government force them to create art against their artistic and religious beliefs”, he added.
Christian legal cases
Last week, Lorie Smith, a fellow Christian graphic designer, filed a federal lawsuit in Colorado.
She is also hoping to avoid being forced to convey a same-sex message that conflicts with her religious beliefs.
Bakery owner Jack Phillips is another example of a Christian who is under threat.
Phillips refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding and after several unsuccessful court cases, he has now applied for his case to be heard at the US Supreme Court.