Ky Court of Appeals Upholds Business' Refusal to Print Gay Pride Shirts

May 14, 2017

Credit kentucky.com

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled a Lexington business did not discriminate when it refused to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival.  A decision about whether to appeal Friday’s ruling to a higher court could come in just a few days.

The case involves the business Hands On Originals’ decision not to print the T-shirts for Lexington’s 2012 Pride Festival.  Store Managing Owner Blaine Adamson said in a teleconference Friday,“religious liberty is our most important freedom," adding, "It's not really free if beliefs are confined to our minds.”

“I will work with any person, no matter who they are, no matter what their belief systems are. But, when they present a message that conflicts with my religious beliefs, that’s not something I can print,” said Adamson.

Christopher Bauer, president of Lexington’s Pride Community Services Organization, doesn’t believe the ruling is about free speech.  He says it’s more about the LGBT community’s right to exist openly and not be shoved back in the closet. 

Bauer doesn’t believe the proposed wording for the T-shirt carried any significant message.  “The T-shirt was the number five with some rainbow-colored dots that said "Lexington Pride Festival."  I don’t see what the message is there.  It’s not promoting homosexuality.  It’s not promoting anything,” said Bauer.  “It’s just advertising that there’s this thing called the Lexington Pride Festival.”

The suit was brought by the Lexington Human Rights Commission.  Director Ray Sexton says the commission meets this Monday at which time it could decide whether to take the matter to the state’s highest court.