Frankfort, Kentucky — October 31, 2019. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of Blaine Adamson today, protecting the Christian printer from being forced to print messages against his conscience.
Adamson owns and runs Hands-On Originals, a printing company that custom-designs messages and graphics and prints them on t-shirts and other accessories. Because of his faith, he declines to print images and messages that he does not believe are honoring to God. As a result, he was obliged to decline an opportunity to print t-shirts promoting a local LGBT Pride Festival, referring them to another printer who would print the message. But instead of accepting the referral, the Festival filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission against Adamson, alleging that his conscience-based decision amounted to discrimination. In turn, the Commission took up the complaint, and sought massive fines against Hands-On Originals, which would have effectively put Adamson out of business.
After losing in Kentucky state courts, the Commission appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Center for Religious Expression filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Adamson and Hands-On Originals, asking the court to not force a business owner to create messages he finds morally objectionable. And today, the state high court put the matter to rest, ruling in favor of Adamson and his business. Though the court’s decision ultimately rested on the fact that the Festival is not an individual who could be discriminated against, the court also recognized the significant First Amendment issues implicated by the case. The upshot is Adamson and Hands-On Originals are no longer under threat of punishment for adhering to conscience.
“This case marks an important victory for conscience and speech, and CRE was honored to participate in it,” said Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “CRE looks forward to the day when people of faith don’t have to worry they might be sued for declining to violate their own consciences.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.