Expressive freedom at heart of case Kentucky Supreme Court will hear Friday
WHO: Hands On Originals promotional print shop owner Blaine Adamson, ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, various government officials, and other participants
WHAT: Press conference following oral arguments in Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands On Originals
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 23, immediately after oral arguments, which begin at 10 a.m. EDT
WHERE: Kentucky Supreme Court Rotunda, Kentucky State Capitol Building, 700 Capital Ave., #209, Frankfort
In 2017, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Two lower courts have already upheld the freedom of Adamson to operate his business consistent with his faith and decline to print messages that violate his beliefs.
“Blaine serves everyone; he just doesn’t print all messages. In fact, Blaine has printed materials for a lesbian musician who performed at Lexington’s 2012 Pride Festival. It’s all about the message that Blaine is asked to print; he’s not concerned with the person who requests it,” said Campbell. “Upholding Blaine’s rights protects freedom of speech for everyone. That’s why he has received public support from lesbians who own a print shop in New Jersey and don’t want the government to force them to print messages they disagree with.”
In February, the Kentucky Supreme Court received 13 friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Adamson’s freedom, including briefs from Gov. Matt Bevin and 10 states. The court received only one brief in support of the government.
As the ADF brief filed with the Kentucky Supreme Court last year explains, “The right to decide what to say and what not to say—to choose which ideas to express—is core to human freedom…. It explains why most recoil at the thought of forcing a Democrat to make signs for a Republican politician, a gay man to create posters opposing same-sex marriage, a Jewish woman to make shirts celebrating German pride, or anyone to create flyers for a cause at odds with their conscience. And it establishes why the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission…cannot require Hands On Originals…and its Managing Owner, Blaine Adamson, to print messages conflicting with their faith….”
The case began in 2012 when Adamson declined to print shirts with a message promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, an event that the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization hosted. Although Adamson declined to print the shirts because of the message that would have been on them, he offered to connect the GLSO to another printer who would have made the shirts.
Unsatisfied, the GLSO filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission—despite eventually receiving the shirts for free from another printer. In 2014, the commission ruled that Adamson must print messages that conflict with his faith when customers ask him to do so.
- One-page summary: Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands On Originals
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.