LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Christian screen printing company that was ordered this fall to print t-shirts that bear pro-homosexual messages and undergo diversity training for declining to make shirts for a “gay pride” celebration two years ago has filed an appeal with a state circuit court.
As previously reported, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO) had wanted the company Hand On Originals–a company that identifies as “Christian outfitters” on the home page of its website–to print t-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Gay Pride Festival. When manager Blaine Adamson declined the order due to the company’s biblical convictions not to be partaker of another man’s sins (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7), GLSO filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Human Rights Commission.
“I want the truth to come out—it’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, ‘No Gays Allowed,’” owner Blaine Adamson said following the filing of the complaint. “We’ll work with anybody. But if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.”
During a hearing regarding the matter this past June, GSLO representative Aaron Baker admitted to the commission that his desire to force Christians to print pro-homosexual messages works both ways, and that the homosexual companies could be forced to print messages that are against homosexuality.
“I believe that a gay printer would have to print a t-shirt for the Westboro Baptist Church,” he stated, referring to the controversial organization whose messages express a desire for Americans to burn in Hell rather than repent and be saved. “And if the Westboro Baptist Church were to say, ‘Look, we’re a church; we’re promoting our church values by having our name on a T-shirt,’ I don’t see how you could refuse that.”
HRC examiner Greg Munson therefore ruled in October that Hands On Originals violated the law by not printing the shirts for the event.
“The evidence of record shows that the respondent discriminated against GLSO because of its members’ actual or imputed sexual orientation by refusing to print and sell to them the official shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival,” he wrote.
The company was then ordered to undergo diversity training so that it would not decline to print such messages in the future.
But Hands on Originals filed an appeal with the Fayette Circuit Court on Monday via its legal counsel contending that the ruling violates its constitutional right to freedom of religion and its freedom of expression.
“No one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell told reporters this week. “Laws that do that are fundamentally unjust.”
“A book editor or ghostwriter could be forced to write a book advocating messages they find contrary to their convictions based on this ruling,” he explained. “The litmus test now seems to be: Does the order arguably implicate a protected class or a protected characteristic? If it does, then the logic of it … would require every business that promotes messages and ideas to go against their beliefs.”