August 23, 2019 is a big day for Blaine Adamson.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been representing Blaine for the past seven years.
It all started in 2012, when Blaine was asked by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) to print t-shirts promoting a gay pride festival. Blaine serves all people, but he cannot print every message. So, as Blaine does with any request that conflicts with his religious beliefs, he politely declined. Then he offered to connect the organization to another shop that would print the shirts at the same price he would have charged.
But the GLSO filed a discrimination complaint with the local Human Rights Commission. Then the commission punished Blaine for living and working consistently with his beliefs and ordered him to undergo “diversity training.”
Over the course of this seven-year legal battle, two Kentucky lower courts have ruled in Blaine’s favor – affirming that he is free to decline to print messages that violate his religious beliefs.
But the Human Rights Commission has appealed each time. We pray that the Kentucky Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of creative professionals like Blaine to live and work consistently with their beliefs and values.
Here are a few facts about the case that you might not know.
1. It is a common practice for promotional printers to refer requests for messages that conflict with their beliefs and values to other businesses
That’s exactly what Blaine tried to do when the GLSO approached him about printing t-shirts for the gay pride festival. Blaine offered to connect them to another shop that would have charged the same price. In the end, the GLSO obtained the shirts they wanted for free. Even people who disagree with Blaine’s religious beliefs should support his right to decline to print messages that conflict with his beliefs. After all, they want the freedom to do the same.
2. Blaine has declined to print other messages with which he disagrees
Blaine will print t-shirts for any person, but he cannot print every message that is presented to him. He has declined to print orders in the past because of their messages, including orders from Christian organizations. On the flip side, he has printed, and will continue to print, for people who identify as LGBT. In fact, he has printed materials for a lesbian musician who performed at the Lexington Pride Festival. For Blaine, it’s never about the person making the request. It’s about the message he is being asked to print.
3. If the government forces Blaine to promote messages that conflict with his beliefs, why wouldn’t everyone else be commanded to do the same?
A Democratic speechwriter should not be forced to write a speech for a Republican candidate, and a pro-abortion photographer should not be forced to take pictures of the March for Life. Creative professionals should be free to decline to portray certain messages with which they disagree.
When the Government Can Tell You What to Do, What to Create, What to Think, and What to Believe, Then We Do Not Have True Freedom
That’s why ADF is committed to defending Blaine and other creative professionals who have been told that they must use their God-given talents to promote messages and events that violate their faith.
If they don’t have the freedom to live and work consistently with their beliefs, then none of us do.
Lorie Smith could use some clarity—as could creative professionals across the country.
The court ruled 2-1 that the state of Colorado can force Lorie to design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs.