A Kentucky appeals court ruled on Friday that a Kentucky printer had the right to turn down orders that would have promoted messages contrary to his faith. Blaine Adamson owns Hands On Originals, a Christian outfitting company in Lexington, Kentucky.
In 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) asked Adamson to print shirts promoting the Lexington Pride Festival. Adamson declined the order on the grounds that printing the shirts would have violated his faith, and referred the GLSO to a different printing company. However, the GLSO filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, which ruled that Adamson was legally required to print the shirts regardless of his religious beliefs.
Adamson enlisted the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which appealed the order to the Fayette Circuit Court. That court ruled in favor of Adamson, but the commission appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. In a victory for Adamson and religious freedom, the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the Fayette Circuit Court’s ruling on Friday.
ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell called the decision “a victory for all Americans.”
“Americans should always have the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom to not express ideas that would violate their conscience,” Campbell said. “Today’s decision is a victory for printers and other creative professionals who serve all people but cannot promote all messages. It is also a victory for all Americans because it reassures us all that, no matter what you believe, the law can’t force you to express a message in conflict with your deepest convictions.”
Adamson said he was thankful for the ruling.
“I don’t leave my faith at the door when I walk into my business, and my clients and my community are better for it,” Adamson said after the ruling was handed down. “I will work with any person, no matter who they are and what their belief systems are, but I draw the line at promoting messages that go against my faith.”