Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kentucky Court Says Businesss May Refuse To Print Gay Pride T-Shirts

In Hands On Originals, Inc. v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, (KY Cir. Ct., April 27, 2015), a Kentucky state trial court, reversing an order of a county human rights commission, held that a small business that prints promotional items for customers did not violate the county's public accommodation ordinance when it refused to print Lexington Pride Festival t-shirts for the Gay and Lesbian Service Organization.  The business, Hands On Originals ("HOO"), had a policy, displayed on its website, that it would refuse any order that endorsed a position in conflict with the convictions of the business' Christian owners. The court concluded that the refusal was not because of the sexual orientation of the representatives that communicated with HOO, but rather because of the message the t-shirt would convey-- that one should be proud of sexual relationships other than between a married man and woman. The court held that it is the right of HOO and its owners "not to be compelled to be part of the advocacy of messages opposed to their sincerely held Christian beliefs."

The court also held that the Commission's order substantially burdens the free exercise rights of HOO and its owners, in violation of Kentucky's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Christian News reports on the decision. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, an appeal of the court's decision is likely.