When Blaine Adamson, a Christian and owner of Hands On Originals print shop, declined to print “gay pride” messages on T-shirts, a homosexual lobbying organization complained to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission in Kentucky. The organization, which lost at trial and on appeal, argued its case before the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The court ruled last week that the homosexual organization lacked standing in the case. The state’s so-called non-discrimination ordinance protects individuals, not groups. From Adamson’s legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF):
“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.”
ADF attorneys explain that 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. Last month, Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman asked the Supreme Court to hear her case and resolve that question. This is the second time she has petitioned the high court. And Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips is facing the third lawsuit that has been filed against him. Meanwhile, the Arizona Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit both recently ruled in favor of other creative professionals represented by ADF attorneys.
The ADF is correct about the U.S. Supreme Court. If the highest court in the land issued a broad enough ruling to protect all Christian business owners who want nothing to do with homosexual “weddings” or anything else that violates their religious beliefs or conscience, cases like Adamson’s would be dismissed sooner or wouldn’t even make it to court.
The homosexual lobby can and likely will continue to harass Adamson. For the purpose of initiating a commission investigation against him, all an individual needs to do is place an order with Hands On Originals to print a “gay pride” message on a shirt. When Adamson turns down the request for religious reasons, the individual can file a complaint. More from ADF (emphasis added):
In a concurring opinion, [Kentucky Supreme Court] Justice David Buckingham said that “Hands On was in good faith objecting to the message it was being asked to disseminate.” He also explained, quoting what the U.S. Supreme Court wrote last year in Janus v. AFSCME, that “[w]hen speech is compelled…, individuals are coerced into betraying their convictions. Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning….” No member of the court disagreed with what Buckingham wrote.