How would you feel if the government tried to force you to operate your business against your conscience?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical question. This very thing happened to Blaine Adamson.
Blaine owns Hands On Originals, a promotional printing business in Lexington, Kentucky. Blaine regularly declines to print messages that conflict with his beliefs. It’s standard practice in the promotional printing industry.
Blaine has declined to print shirts expressing violent messages, shirts promoting a strip club, and pens advertising a sexually explicit video. Every time he declines a request because of the requested message, Blaine offers to connect that customer to another printer who will match his price.
When the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) asked Blaine to print shirts promoting a local gay pride festival, he knew he had to decline. He could not in good conscience print a message so clearly at odds with his faith and its teachings. As he always does, Blaine offered to connect the festival organizers to another printer.
But the GLSO wasn’t satisfied.
The organization filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission. The Commission ordered Blaine to attend “diversity training” and print messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
But it didn’t stop there. The GLSO sent a press release to the Lexington newspaper. There was a public boycott of Hands On Originals, and some customers began pulling their business. The Lexington mayor even publicly criticized Blaine.
Blaine serves everyone. He has clients of all different backgrounds and beliefs. But there are some messages that he can’t print. And for those messages, he won’t print them for anyone.
Still, the government is trying to force Blaine to choose between his conscience and his livelihood. This shouldn’t happen in America, where free speech and religious freedom are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. And yet, Blaine’s case is not an isolated incident.
Across the country, government officials are trying to force people of faith to choose between their beliefs and their livelihood.
- Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka own Brush and Nib Studio where they create beautiful, handmade art for their clients’ events. But a law in Phoenix requires them to use their artistic skills to create art for events that conflict with their beliefs. For each day they disobey the law, Joanna and Breanna face fines up to $2,500 and even jail time. Breanna and Joanna are currently waiting for a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court.
- Barronelle Stutzman is a floral artist and the owner of Arlene’s flowers. Like Blaine, she has faced years of legal battles all because she declined to create custom floral arrangements celebrating a longtime customer’s same-sex wedding. The Washington State Supreme Court denied justice for Barronelle twice. But she will be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court soon.
Our freedoms are under attack. If we don’t protect our right to freely live out our faith today, it could be taken away from future generations.
But there is HOPE! When we join together to fight for our freedoms, we can WIN! Blaine’s story is proof of that. He’s already won twice in court! But the government refuses to accept defeat. It appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which heard Blaine’s case earlier this month.
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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.