KY Supreme Court rules in favor of print shop that refused to print pride festival shirts

Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky.(Alliance Defending Freedom)
Published: Oct. 31, 2019 at 4:39 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Lexington print shop owner who, in 2012, refused to print shirts with a message promoting the Lexington Pride Festival.

Following that denial in 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission. In 2014, the commission ruled the print owner, Blaine Adamson, must print messages that conflict with his faith when customers ask him to do so. After that, all three levels of the state court system ruled in Adamson’s favor.

In its ruling, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the GLSO did not have a legal right to sue Adamson or his business, Hands On Originals, for declining to print a message that violates his religious beliefs.

Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom say the Hands On Originals decision highlights why the U.S. Supreme Court should take up the important First Amendment issue at the heart of the case and decide whether governments may force creative professionals who serve everyone to print messages or create art that violates their beliefs.

“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,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, who argued before the state high court on Adamson’s behalf earlier this year. “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.”

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