Published On: Fri, Dec 16th, 2016

Kentucky lawsuit over Blaine Adamson, printer refusing to print gay pride shirts moves on

Attorneys for a Kentucky t-shirt printing company and the company’s owner, Blaine Adamson, which refused to print Pride t-shirts back in 2012, have argued that the refusal does not constitute discrimination.

A lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, Jim Campbell, argued that the owners of Hands on Originals in Lexington, Kentucky, objected to printing the 2012 Lextington Pride Festival t-shirt, but that they do not discriminate against gay people.

“Protecting Blaine’s freedom protects everyone’s freedom, regardless of their beliefs or convictions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “No matter what you believe, the government shouldn’t be able to force you to create speech that conflicts with your deepest convictions. The trial court’s decision rightly affirmed that, and we are asking the court of appeals to do the same.”
photo chtfj21

photo chtfj21

Campbell compared printing Pride t-shirts to printing messages about illegal drug use, porn or violence.

“The record shows that they have declined over the years to promote messages that promote illegal drug use or strip clubs or pornographic movies or violent messages,” Campbell told the Kentucky Court of Appeals. “Hands on Originals declined to print the shirts in question because of the messages on them, not the sexual orientation of the individuals who asked for them.”
“That constitutional principle, at issue because Mr. Adamson declined to produce advocacy materials for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), protects all individuals, regardless of their beliefs,” the ADF brief filed with the court in February says, pointing out that “a lesbian owned and operated T-shirt company” and “groups that claim to ‘strongly support gay rights’” have publicly supported Hands On Originals. “For just as surely as the First Amendment protects HOO against the GLSO’s discrimination claim, it also forecloses a religious-discrimination claim against an LGBT printer who refuses to create materials that disparage gays and lesbians. Thus, a ruling for HOO upholds the freedom of all who are asked to produce expression that they consider objectionable,” the brief explains.

Ed Dove, a lawyer for the Human Rights Commission in Lexington, argued that it is not possible to separate the message on the t-shirt from the discrimination.

“At what point does this message stop?… You can’t separate the message from the discrimination. That’s a red herring.”


The court also received friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Hands On Originals from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (joined by constitutional scholar Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia Law School), The Cato Institute (joined by free-speech scholar Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law), the Sutherland Institute, and the American Center for Law and Justice.

Although Adamson declined to print the shirts because he did not want to convey the message that would be printed on them, he nevertheless offered to put the GLSO in touch with another printer that would produce the shirts. Unsatisfied, the GLSO filed a complaint with the commission despite eventually obtaining the shirts for free from another printer.


Aaron Barker, a spokesperson for the GLSO released a statement following the 2012 decision: “We’re not seeking fines or monetary damages or anything else,” he said. “In some sense, I feel like we’ve gotten what we were looking for since the Human Rights Commission has agreed with us.”


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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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  1. normandywells says:

    kind of feel sorry for the s***tty religiously brainwashed bigot-not really though!!

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