Two Christian artists based in Arizona continue to fight legal woes and may end up being jailed or paying hefty fines for refusing to make invitations for homosexual unions because of their faith.
According to a report on Fox News, the artists, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, recently filed an appeal in court after they lost a case at trial level and ended up being found guilty of violating a local ordinance protecting gay individuals from discrimination.
Their lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, is confident that her clients will prevail once another judge reviews their case. She maintained that the business that Duka and Koski own, the stationery company Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix, has the right to refuse homosexual customers because of artistic freedom and freedom to exercise religion.
"We don't force artists to create artistic expression under threat of jail time," Waggoner argued, speaking on Fox News' "The Kelly File."
"Americans don't give up their constitutional rights because they want to earn a living and feed their children, nor do artists," added the lawyer, who is affiliated with the religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
She also maintained that free speech is "a bedrock principle of the First Amendment," and should not be compromised; otherwise, "other civil liberties are sure to follow."
The Christian artists may have to spend six months in prison for their supposed non-compliance with the city ordinance protecting homosexual persons on top of fines that would be charged to them on a daily basis.
Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego, however, defended the policy, saying this ensures that businesses respect homosexuals.
"This ordinance is an important economic development tool and we will defend it," Gallego told Biz Pac Review.
She also reminded businesses in the area not to "discriminate" other people and to "stand up for all their residents."