Brush & Nib Studio
The owners of Brush & Nib studio would “love to chat with you” about a wedding invitation providing that you are a heterosexual Christian.

Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka attempt to explain: Why the Arizona Supreme Court ruling in favor of our art studio is a win for everyone. The two would-be moralists succeed in demonstrating what self-absorbed dim bulbs they truly are.

Brush & Nib Studios does not want to design wedding invitations for gay couples because they do not approve of same-sex marriage. No gay couple ever asked them for an invitation — and now none ever will. Just in case, though, they went to court. They won. Four conservative state supreme court justices — appointees of conservative governors of Arizona1 — ruled in their favor, overturning lower court decisions. This was a win for Christian Privilege™.

The basic concept of nondiscrimination laws is that consumers of goods and services provided by public accommodations should not require the approval of the proprietor based on membership in a protected class.

Yet, according to Koski and Duka (selected passages):

When we decided to start an art studio together, we knew there would be highs and lows. We didn’t know the lows would include the threat of facing jail time. But the highs of winning a tremendous victory for free speech? We really didn’t see that coming, either.

I am in terrible distress. If I buy a gun and shoot my noisy neighbor I could go to jail. Oh the low.

Have a helping of self-aggrandizing platitudes. You would think that these two are a pairing of Georgia O’Keefe with Mary Cassatt:

We are artists. We get up every morning inspired and excited to create beautiful things. And we believe our love of beauty and our artistic talents are gifts from God, and that the way we use those talents therefore matters to God. So when we decided to start Brush & Nib Studio, a calligraphy and hand-painting business, we knew we would be pouring ourselves into every custom piece we made, whether wedding invitations, wedding vows or wedding signs.

But not long after we opened our studio, we came face-to-face with a serious threat. As artists, we gladly serve everyone, but there are certain messages we can’t promote through our artwork — regardless of who asks us. That’s true of many artists. For instance, like many artists, we won’t create artwork promoting racism or exploiting women — no matter who asks us. The same is true for artwork that celebrates any view of marriage that is not marriage between one man and one woman.

These self-absorbed people do not “gladly serve everyone.” You have to meet their qualifications to obtain wedding invitations. Racists and those who might exploit women (whatever that means) are not protected classes receiving nondiscrimination protections through local law.

Speaking of qualifications, what would they do if an obviously pregnant woman came in for a wedding invitation? Do they have some sort of questionnaire to weed out the divorcees?

When artists choose which messages to promote through their art, most call that artistic freedom. But Phoenix called it “discrimination.” That’s just wrong. Under Phoenix’s theory, a Jewish painter could be forced to design and paint a banner for an anti-Semitic march. A female graphic designer could be forced to create custom graphics for a website that demeans women. And a Muslim singer could be forced to sing at a Christian Easter service.

Arrogance! Making a wedding invitation does not promote their message. It promotes the customer’s message. A Jewish painter would not be forced to design a banner for an anti-Semitic march unless anti-Semites are a protected class. Owners of misogynist website are also probably not a protected class. What makes them think that a Muslim singer would have a problem singing at a Christian service? They are projecting their own sense of self-importance.

And, by the way, if that talented Muslim did decline to perform at a Christian event the turds would hit the turbines. We would never hear the end of how Christians were persecuted by Islamists and terrorists.

The threat we faced from Phoenix’s law put us in a very difficult position. We felt a strong calling to use our artistic talents to celebrate wonderful moments in people’s lives. We didn’t want to abandon our dreams and close our studio. But compromising our deepest beliefs wasn’t an option. So we did something we never imagined: We filed a lawsuit through our Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys to, well, defend freedom.

They put themselves in a very difficult position by passing judgment on others. Most Christians disagree with them.

Underpinning all of this are the false notions that; a) service is the equivalent of approval and; b) that their approval is somehow beneficial and eagerly sought. They were not defending freedom. They wanted a license to discriminate and they received one due to partisan politics.

Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka save the world

That was over three years ago. Since then, our case has wound its way through the courts. We experienced a lot of attacks and name-calling along the way. But we never regretted taking a stand. Taking a stand for our freedom. Taking a stand for your freedom. Taking a stand for everyone’s freedom. Even those who disagree with us. And now, after a long struggle, the Arizona Supreme Court has rejected Phoenix’s position and upheld the freedom of artists to choose which messages they promote through their art.

Oh poor them. They were attacked. The message that the have been promoting for these three years is that gay couples are not deserving of respect and courtesy.

How about the freedom to be served in the marketplace? And, again, the notion that they are promoting a message when they design a wedding invitation is just arrogant nonsense. Get a grip. It’s just an invitation.

Today, as our long legal saga comes to an end, we are thrilled that we can now create freely without fearing jail time or other government punishment. But more than that, we’re grateful our stand will help secure freedom for all artists who strive to create art that reflects their deepest beliefs. Freedom is a wonderful blessing we must cherish and defend.

More self-aggrandizement. They are the beneficiaries of a very narrow ruling that only applies to Phoenix. My guess is that the general public will substitute their good judgment for the poor judgment of a partisan court. Then Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka can claim that they were martyrs for the faith.


1 Five of the seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court were appointed by the current governor, Doug Ducey; two by his predecessor, Jan Brewer.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.