A Christian printer who was found guilty of discrimination by a civil rights commission and told that his employees would need to attend diversity training after he refused to print shirts for a gay pride parade is fighting back, appealing the ruling in Kentucky state court.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands on Originals, a Lexington-based T-shirt company, filed the appeal through his attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, arguing that the messages he was asked to print violated his deeply held religious beliefs.
The challenge comes after Greg Munson of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission announced in October that Hands on Originals discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington when it refused to print the shirts back in 2012.
The civil rights commission subsequently officially adopted this sentiment in November, finding that Adamson — who regularly does business with and employs gays and lesbians — violated the local non-discrimination ordinance, according to a Alliance Defending Freedom press release.
“No one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree. Laws that do that are fundamentally unjust,” senior legal counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement. “We are appealing the commission’s decision because the First Amendment protects the freedom of every American to decline to speak on any issue without fear of punishment.”
In this case, Campbell said that Adamson wasn’t opposed to the individuals requesting the shirts, rather he disagreed with the message.
The Alliance Defending Freedom has also raised another related issue: if Christians like Adamsonare forced to print shirts that violate their religious beliefs, this would also mean that gay and lesbian-owned businesses will be forced to print messages from groups that they, too, disagree with — something the firm believes violates the First Amendment.