A Kentucky appeals court ruled 2-1 in favor of a Christian business owner who declined to provide services to the organizers of a gay pride festival in his city.
The LGBTQ community tried to classify his refusal as a “crime” and worked hard to try and make his business suffer because of his decision to stick to his religious beliefs.
Blaine Adamson of Hands on Originals in Lexington, Kentucky, was approached in 2012 by the organizers of the Lexington Pride Festival who wanted him to print shirts for the event.
After seeing what the event was about, he refused, saying that it violated his religion.
The angry event organizers decided to file a climate against him with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, saying that he discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation.
Conservative Tribune reports:
The agency ultimately ordered Adamson to print the shirts in 2014, but a circuit court and now an appeals court have ruled against the agency and in favor of Adamson, with Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer writing that she found no evidence Adamson had “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the court ruled that the “fairness” ordinance didn’t necessarily cover the free speech of business owners and that therefore an owner couldn’t be compelled to promote a message with which he wholeheartedly disagreed, in this case a Christian being asked to promote the gay lifestyle.
“The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property,” wrote Kramer. “In other words, the ‘service’ Hands On Originals offers is the promotion of messages.”
“The ‘conduct’ Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech,” Kramer continued. “There is no contention that Hands On Originals is a public forum in addition to a public accommodation. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship.”
Angry with the court’s decision, the Human Rights Commission will try and appeal the ruling and will try and have the issue reviewed at the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The Alliance Defending Freedom celebrated the decision in a statement.
“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,” stated ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell. “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,” he added.
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