For over seven years, Blaine Adamson has been battling in court for the right to run his business consistently with his faith.
He’s faced many setbacks: boycotts against his promotional printing company, Hands On Originals; hateful emails, phone calls, and Facebook comments; and some customers even pulled their business. All of this because Blaine runs his business consistently with his faith.
But Blaine has also seen many triumphs. And today was another big win! The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of Blaine. Praise God!
Blaine’s Journey to the Kentucky Supreme Court
It all started in 2012 when Blaine received a phone call from the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO). The group wanted Hands On Originals to print shirts promoting the local pride festival. Blaine determined that he could not print those shirts because they would express messages in conflict with his faith.
This wasn’t new for Blaine. He serves everyone, but he cannot express every message. Blane routinely declines requests for projects with messages that conflict with his beliefs. From 2010 to 2012 alone, Hands On Originals declined at least 13 orders because of their messages, including shirts with a violent message, shirts promoting a strip club, and pens supporting a sexually explicit video.
As he always does, Blaine offered to connect the GLSO with another print shop that he knew would create the shirts at the same price he would have charged. But that wasn’t enough for the GLSO.
The GLSO publicized Blaine’s decision, which led to protests and boycotts against Hands On Originals. The group also filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, which ruled against Blaine and ordered him to undergo “diversity training” and print messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
Blaine knew that this was a violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, Blaine has been asking the courts to uphold his freedom to live and work consistently with his faith.
Two lower courts had already ruled for Blaine. And now, the Kentucky Supreme Court has too! The unanimous court said that the GLSO did not have a legal right to sue Hands On Originals.
How About Our First Amendment Freedoms
If the government can force Blaine to support messages that violate his deeply held beliefs, then it can force anyone to do the same. This includes an LGBT printer who declines to create t-shirts criticizing same-sex marriage, a Democratic speechwriter who declines to write speeches for the Republican National Convention, or a Muslim singer who declines to sing Christian songs at a concert.
Protecting these freedoms is vital to us all. Because if we want freedom for ourselves, we must extend it to others—even those with whom we disagree.
The Kentucky Supreme Court didn’t directly address the broader First Amendment questions concerning Blaine’s right to live and work consistently with his faith. But we are committed to defending that freedom. We are doing that in countless cases on behalf of people like Barronelle Stutzman and Carl and Angel Larsen. Please support us as we continue to defend religious freedom for all.
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.