On May 12, the evangelical Christian co-owners of a calligraphy shop filed suit to demand a right to discriminate against LGBT couples. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), seek exemption from Phoenix, Arizona, nondiscrimination law, claiming that the law could potentially land them jail time if they turned away LGBT couples seeking hand-lettered wedding invitations. The key words here: "could" and "if". No same-sex couples have actually requested invitations from the studio yet. Instead, this legal action is a clear opening salvo in the fight against the city's LGBT protections.
Stephanie Russell-Kraft of Religion Dispatches outlines how ADF, which also currently represents clients who oppose civil rights protections for transgender children, has invented a scenario that disingenuously casts Brush & Nib's owners as victims of religious persecution.
From Religion Dispatches:
The lawsuit, and the ADF’s accompanying press campaign, is a textbook work of spin that turns a complete non-issue into a high-stakes drama pitting two innocent (pretty, white) women against the oppressive forces of liberal government overreach.
Let’s start with the title of the ADF’s press release, which coyly asks, “Jail time for Phoenix artists who disagree with government?” So, you might wonder, did the women refuse to serve a gay couple? Were they found to have violated the ordinance? Have they been locked up? No, no, and, no.