Blaine Adamson, the owner of Hands On Originals, a promotional printing company, has turned down several requests to create shirts based on the message that he was asked to print on them. But when he declined one particular design, he faced charges of illegal discrimination.
That order came from the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), and the requested shirt promoted the group’s Pride Parade. Blaine explained that he could not print a shirt bearing a message that conflicts with his faith. He then offered to connect the GLSO to another printer who would create the shirts for the same price that he would have charged.
The GLSO rejected Blaine’s offer and filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission.
If the situation were reversed, would a homosexual printer be forced to print material stating that homosexuality is morally wrong? Or would an African American be forced to print shirts promoting a Klu Klux Klan rally? Of course not.
But the Human Rights Commission ignored all of this, declared that Blaine was guilty of illegal discrimination, and ordered him to print shirts with messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom is here to protect the right of creative professionals to use their God-given talents in ways that are consistent with their beliefs.
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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands On Originals
What's at stake
Blaine Adamson and his printing business, Hands On Originals, came under attack when they declined to create t-shirts for the pride festival hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (“GLSO”). Helping to spread a message that promotes sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman would violate Blaine’s Christian beliefs. So he could not in good conscience produce t-shirts for the GLSO’s event. Blaine nevertheless offered to connect the GLSO to another printer who would create the shirts for the same price that he would have charged. In response, however, the GLSO’s president filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission alleging sexual orientation discrimination.
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies came to Blaine’s and Hands On Originals’ defense. They explained to the human rights commission that declining to produce t-shirts because they display a disagreeable message is not the same as declining an order based on the identity of the person who orders them. If the situation were reversed, would a homosexual printer be forced to print material stating that homosexually is morally wrong? Or would an African American be forced to print shirts promoting a Klu Klux Klan rally?
Because the government cannot force citizens to promote a message they do not believe in, Alliance Defending Freedom asked the human rights commission to dismiss the complaint. Unfortunately, the commission refused to do so and, instead, found Blaine guilty of illegal discrimination and ordered him to print shirts with messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom appealed that order to a Kentucky circuit court. In April 2015, that court reversed the human rights commission’s order and affirmed Blaine’s and his company’s right to decline to promote messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom continues to defend Blaine’s and Hands On Originals’ liberty, as well as the rights of other Christian businesses across the nation.
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies defend Blaine Adamson and his printing company, Hands On Originals, now that they have come under attack for refusing to promote messages that they considered objectionable.