When Blaine Adamson politely declined to print a t-shirt promoting the local gay pride festival, it wasn’t the first time he declined a request because he objected to the message.
When Blaine receives a request at his business, Hands On Originals, he considers whether the message he is being asked to print is consistent with his religious beliefs. And this particular request had a message that conflicted with those beliefs. So, as he always does, Blaine offered to connect the customer to another shop that would create the shirts at the same cost.
Then came the complaint that launched Blaine into a more than seven-year legal battle. The local Human Rights Commission ordered him to complete “diversity training” and print messages that violate his beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has represented Blaine throughout this entire process, and he has won twice in court. His case is now before the Kentucky Supreme Court, and on August 23, that court will hear arguments.
For Blaine, it’s never about the person making the request. It’s about the message he is being asked to print. Blaine has printed t-shirts for a lesbian musician, and he has declined to print shirts for a Christian organization.
Blaine serves all people, but he cannot print every message that is asked of him.
From 2010 to 2012 alone, Hands On Originals declined at least 13 orders because of their messages. Here are two examples.
1. A shirt that shows two people, one holding two beers and the other on the floor saying: “What happens at Fat Jack’s stays at Fat Jack’s.”
2. A shirt for a Christian organization that states “in righteousness he judges and wages war” and “sometimes violence is the only answer” written in blood over the numbers 19:11.
No American should be forced to print, support, or express messages that violate their beliefs. But that is exactly what the government is trying to force Blaine to do.
If the government can force a promotional printer to print messages that violate his faith, where does it stop? Who would be targeted next?
Even if you disagree with Blaine’s views and beliefs, you should support his right to choose which messages he will print and which he will not.
If he doesn’t have that freedom, then none of us do.
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