Kentucky Supreme Court to Decide Whether or Not Christian Screen Printer Has Right to Decline Order for ‘Gay Pride’ T-Shirts

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Supreme Court of Kentucky has agreed to hear an appeal from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission after a state appeals court ruled earlier this year that an expressly Christian screen printing business did not violate the law in declining to print t-shirts for a homosexual pride festival.

According to the Courier Journal, Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. granted the appeal. A hearing date has not yet been set.

As previously reported, in 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO) approached the Kentucky-based Hand On Originals—a company that identifies as “Christian outfitters” and providers of “Christian apparel” on the homepage of its website—to print t-shirts for the Lexington Gay Pride Festival.

When manager Blaine Adamson declined the order due to the company’s biblical convictions, GLSO filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Human Rights Commission (HRC).

“I want the truth to come out—it’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, ‘No Gays Allowed,’” 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.”

HRC examiner Greg Munson ruled in October 2014 that Hands On Originals violated the law by not printing the shirts for the event. The company was then ordered to undergo diversity training so that it would not decline to print such messages in the future.

“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.

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GSLO representative Aaron Baker admitted to the commission during the hearing that his desire to force Christians to print pro-homosexual messages works both ways, and that homosexual companies could be forced to print—for example—messages for the Westboro Baptist “Church.”

“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.”

Hands on Originals filed an appeal with the Fayette Circuit Court via its legal counsel, contending that the ruling violated its constitutional right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

In April 2015, the court reversed Munson’s ruling, noting that the company regularly does business with homosexuals, and so the decision not to print the shirts was not based on any person’s sexuality, but rather the message that the company would be forced to convey.

The court noted that from 2010-2012 Hands on Originals declined 13 orders from various groups because of the message that was to be printed.

“Those print orders that were refused by HOO included shirts promoting a strip club, pens promoting a sexually explicit video and shirts containing a violence-related message,” it explained. “There is further evidence in the Commission record that it is standard practice within the promotional printing industry to decline to print materials containing messages that the owners do not want to support.”

The Human Rights Commission appealed the ruling to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which upheld the circuit court determination in favor of Hands on Originals and Adamson.

It noted that GLSO representative Don Lowe never identified himself as a homosexual in placing the order, and the requesting organization isn’t limited to homosexuals. Therefore, the refusal had nothing to do with discriminating against a specific person, but rather the message that was requested.

“Don Lowe testified he never told Adamson anything regarding his sexual orientation or gender identity. The GLSO itself also has no sexual orientation or gender identity: it is a gender-neutral organization that functions as a support network and advocate for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered,” the court wrote.

It said that businesses have the right to decline the creation of certain messages, otherwise essentially any citizen could file a discrimination complaint over the refusal of any order.

“A man who requests t-shirts stating, ‘I support equal treatment for women,’ could complain of gender discrimination if HOO refused to print the t-shirts because it disagreed with that message. And so forth. Clearly, this is not the intent of the ordinance,” the panel explained.

Adamson has said that he cannot print messages that are contrary to the word of God.

“I want God to find joy in what we do and how we work, how we treat our employees, and the messages we print,” he outlined in March 2016. “So if someone walks in and says, ‘Hey, I want you to help promote something,’ I can’t promote something that I know goes against what pleases Him.”

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  • Reason2012

    Does a black baker who has no problem selling cakes to white people have to use his business support the anti-black acts like a “the beliefs of black people do not matter” gathering? Would a black printer who has no problem serving white people have to make printings to support anti-black act like “the beliefs of black people do not matter” request? Does a mulsim baker who has no problem selling cakes to non-mulsimpeople have to use his business support the anti-muslim acts like a “lets draw muhammad” party?

    No. Those requests would be denied even if asked by another black person or another muslim.

    The only bigots in such a case are those who sought this black baker or black printer out to support this ACT. And so it goes with homosexual activists who seek out Christian bakers and Christian business owners to force them to support such anti-Christian acts no matter if it’s a homosexual who makes the request or not, whether a Christian makes the request or not, more so when such people have no problem serving those who declare they’re into homosexuality. 100% of their customers would be denied this request. They’d also be denied a request for a polygamous wedding cake.

    America is waking up to the deception from homosexual activists, and cases like this make it more obvious and make people more aware of what the real motive is of same-gender marriage and transgender bathrooms is: the offshoot criminalization of those who do not support these ACTS.

    And keep in mind, these same homosexual activists hate LGBT people. When 50 of them were_killed in Orlando, these same activists jumped to the defense of_islam as the “religion of peace”, while not saying a word to defend those who were_killed, but instead keep going after those “evil” Christians for not violating their Christian faith and perform anti-Christian acts.

    Keep in mind they are anti-Christian activists, not LGBT people in general, but activists that have proven they hate LGBT people and are just using them to push this anti-Christian agenda.

    • Robin Egg

      Well stated.

  • Tony Demarcus, Ph.D., D.D.

    The cause of this print shop is one that any real Bible-believing Christian needs to support. Our Christian Bible defines sodomites as those worthy of death. We also know that they are hated by Jesus (Ps. 5:5) and that we are not to abet them in their worship of feces (Gal. 5:19-21). It needs to be every Christian’s modus operandi to reject these homos and lesbidisianists whenever and wherever we happened to encounter them. It is long overdue that “mark them” (Rom. 16:17) and
    get them back to fringes where these disgusting sinners belong. Bakeries, that serve food, including to children, are places that must be maintained in a hygienic manner, and therefore do not warrant the presence of the sodomite!

    • Trilemma

      Fundies say the darndest things!

    • david

      Well posted, well said.

    • DrIndica

      Hated by “Jesus” in the Psalms? I think you have your texts confused.

  • More fallout from the right’s culture created by the cadre of Enlightenment and Masonic thinkers who replaced Biblical responsibilities with Enlightenment rights.

    See blog article “America’s Road to Hell: Paved With Rights.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Blog and search on title.

    Then “Rights: Man’s Sacrilegious Claim to Divinity.”

  • Robin Egg

    We need to again stand in prayer in support of our dear brother that is being tested. Pray for strength and wisdom for all concerned in the appeal. May God richly bless and prosper Blaine for being a true man of God.

  • Lydia Church

    First of all, YES, HE HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE. Period. The question is; will the state acknowledge this right? Now it is semantically correct. We refuse to worship caesar, even if it means persecution for us, just like the early Christians were persecuted. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

  • TruthvLIes

    There must be at least 50 T Shirt printers in Kentucky. I smell a setup here to target a Christian company to make life as difficult as possible for them.