Kentucky Supreme Court tosses suit against Christian who refused to make LGBT pride shirts
LEXINGTON, Kentucky, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Kentucky Supreme Court sided with a Christian print shop owner Thursday in his fight for his right not to create “gay pride” T-shirts.
Blaine Adamson is the owner of Hands On Originals Christian Outfitters, a Lexington company that advertises "high quality, customized Christian apparel.” For the past several years, he has been fighting the Lexington Human Rights Commission over his polite refusal of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization’s (now called the Pride Community Services Organization) request to print shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals sided with Adamson in 2017, and the Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments in August. The state’s highest court ruled Thursday that the plaintiffs “lacked statutory standing to assert a claim against Hands On Originals under the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government ordinance,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported.
While that does not speak to the merits of the case, Justice David Buckingham wrote a concurring opinion – with which none of the justices took issue – declaring that “Hands On was in good faith objecting to the message it was being asked to disseminate” and quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination that “forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning.”
“Today’s decision makes clear that this case never should have happened. For more than seven years, government officials used this case to turn Blaine’s life upside down, even though we told them from the beginning that the lawsuit didn’t comply with the city’s own legal requirements,” ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell said. “The First Amendment protects Blaine’s right to continue serving all people while declining to print messages that violate his faith. Justice David Buckingham recognized this in his concurring opinion, and no member of the court disagreed with that.”
Adamson has previously stressed that he happily serves and employs homosexuals; it’s the content of certain designs that’s at issue.
"We've had to turn down several jobs because of whatever the message may have been, even from customers whom we've worked with for years,” he said. “When they present a message that conflicts with my convictions, it's not something that I can print — that's the line for me.”
Over the past several years, LGBT activists have taken numerous Christian business owners across the country, from photographers to florists, to court in hopes of forcing them to create works celebrating homosexuality or participate in same-sex “wedding” ceremonies.
The U.S. Supreme Court handed Colorado baker Jack Phillips a victory last year when it sided with him against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, but similar lawsuits continue because the high court’s narrow ruling was about the anti-religious animus of state officials, and did not answer the core religious-liberty questions of the case.