Since becoming the owner of Kentucky print shop Hands on Originals in 2008, Blaine Adamson has served people from all different races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations.
While Blaine gladly serves everyone, he declines orders when he is asked to print messages that would violate his sincere religious beliefs. What he does in those cases is refer the customer to a different shop that will print the materials for the same price that Blaine would have charged.
That's exactly what Blaine did when a representative from the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) requested that Hands On Originals print shirts promoting the Lexington Pride Festival. Blaine offered to refer the request because the messages printed on those shirts expressed support for sexual relationships outside of a marriage between a man and a woman, which directly conflicts with his religious beliefs.
The GLSO filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission (HRC) accusing Hands on Originals of discrimination. While the HRC decided that Blaine had discriminated, today, the Fayette County Circuit Court struck down the ruling.
It's quite simple really. Blaine did not decline the GLSO's request because of any characteristic of the person requesting it. He referred the request because the message was not something that he could print without violating his sincerely held religious beliefs.
As the court explained in its ruling: “There is no evidence in this record that [Hands on Originals] HOO or its owners refused to print the t-shirts in question based upon the sexual orientation of GLSO or its members or representatives that contacted HOO. Rather, it is clear beyond dispute that HOO and its owners declined to print the t-shirts in question because of the MESSAGE advocating sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman.”
We are thrilled to see religious freedom and common sense prevail in this case. The Court’s decision recognizes that Blaine did not discriminate and, ultimately, can't be forced by the government to promote messages he disagrees with.
Even more importantly, in our diverse marketplace, business owners should not have to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs in order to stay in business. Regrettably, we are seeing an increasing number of governments try to use Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) laws to punish Christian business owners simply because they decline to communicate messages or participate in events that conflict with their faith. As Blaine's case illustrates, without proper safeguards in place, these laws pose a great threat to religious freedom.
- ADF lawyers are working persistently to help business owners like Blaine who are being threatened because of their beliefs. Please share Blaine’s story on social media and express your support for him and other Christian business owners who are willing to stand up for their faith.
- Christians nationwide must speak out against the devastating effects that SOGIs can have on religious freedom. If you hear that a SOGI law is being considered in your city or if you are a business owner who is facing a similar situation, you can contact us at email@example.com or 1-800-835-5233.