Appeals Court Backs Christian T-Shirt Maker In Discrimination Case

May 12, 2017

The Kentucky Court of Appeals handed another win to Lexington t-shirt maker Hands On Originals Friday.

Lexington t-shirt maker Hands On Originals declined to print this 2012 Pride Fest logo.
Credit Lexington Pride Fest

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the three-judge panel issued a 2-1 ruling backing the business owner, Blaine Adamson, who declined to print shirts for the 2012 Lexington Gay Pride Festival over religious objections. The Lexington Human Rights Commission has argued Adamson ran afoul of the city’s fairness ordinance.

But judges wrote in the majority opinion that, while the ordinance bars discrimination, it does not compel the printing business to promote a message. Chief Judge Joy Kramer wrote: “The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property.”

In his dissent, Judge Jeff Taylor argued the majority opinion takes the teeth out of the ordinance by making it effective only to the extent that gays and lesbians do not publicly display their sexual orientation.

It’s now up to the Human Rights Commission to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.