Appeals court rules that printer can refuse to provide gay pride T-shirts

Screenshot of gay pride parade

Finally a court gives political correctness a back seat to common sense.

A state appeals court ruled Friday that a Lexington, Kentucky print shop was not required to print gay pride T-shirts due to the company owner’s deeply-held religious objections to “pride in being gay.”

The case arose in 2012 when Hands On Originals’ managing owner, Blaine Adamson, refused to print T-shirts for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization’s Lexington Pride Festival because he disagreed with the shirt’s message.

In a 2-1 decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling striking down the Lexington Human Rights Commission decision that the business violated the city’s fairness ordinance, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“Because of my Christian beliefs, I can’t promote that,” Adamson told a Human Rights Commission hearing officer. “Specifically, it’s the Lexington Pride Festival, the name and that it’s advocating pride in being gay and being homosexual, and I can’t promote that message. It’s something that goes against my belief system.”

Writing the majority opinion, Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer distinguished discriminating against gays and lesbians on account of their sexual orientation from disseminating a gay pride group’s message.

“The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property,” Kramer wrote.

“In other words, the ‘service’ Hands On Originals offers is the promotion of messages,” she continued. “The ‘conduct’ Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech. There is no contention that Hands On Originals is a public forum in addition to a public accommodation. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship.”

The Wall Street Journal observed how many other jurisdictions have ruled against business owners with deeply-held religious beliefs in the past, including bakers, florists and wedding photographers. The Journal then offered this commentary:

The common sense of this ruling exposes the flawed logic used by judges in those other cases. It also shows the extreme danger to which the First Amendment is exposed. We have elevated “anti-discrimination” to a place where it now supersedes freedom of speech and religious freedom. The Kentucky appellate court tries to rectify that problem, but it’s only a first step.


At least one person saw the ruling as pretty basic — right up there with “no shoes, no shirt, no service.”

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Another asked:

The short answer is that there is no difference — and that’s the point.

Maybe gay rights activists will finally get the message that there’s more than one florist, photographer, baker, and print shop in town.


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