And now it’s T-shirts.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals apparel company, has become another figure in the battle over religious liberty for refusing to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival because of his Christian beliefs.
In 2014, Adamson’s small business in Lexington, Ky., was charged by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission with violating the city’s fairness ordinance for refusing to print T-shirts in 2012 ordered by Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.
Both the Fayette Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals subsequently ruled in favor of Hands On Originals before an appeal was filed with the Kentucky Supreme Court in January.
The case, which is still in the briefing stages with the state’s high court, has drawn more than a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs for Hands On Originals, including a Feb. 7 filing by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
Also filing friend-of-the court briefings Feb. 7 were the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Adamson is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a key legal organization advocating for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Bevin’s amicus brief argues that “Kentucky is, and always has been, a land of freedom of conscience, where citizens can live without fear that the government will prescribe what beliefs and speech are orthodox and require conformity therewith.”
The drafters of Kentucky’s constitution specifically rejected any limitation of freedom of conscience, Bevin’s brief argues, and that requiring Hands On to print T-shirts promoting homosexuality violates the freedom-of-conscience guarantees enshrined in the commonwealth’s constitution.
Steve Pitt, Bevin’s general counsel, said, “For over two centuries, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has protected its citizens’ right to act according to their conscience,” the Kentucky Today news website of the state Baptist convention reported.
“This important case, which has attracted national attention, tests whether Kentucky’s history of safeguarding freedom of conscience will continue or be curtailed,” Pitt said. “Requiring Hands On’s owners to engage in speech with which they disagree is a violation of their freedom of conscience, and we are hopeful that the Kentucky Supreme Court will reaffirm this bedrock of Kentucky’s constitutional charter.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has a case in front of it involving a baker who refused to make a cake for the wedding of a gay couple in Colorado. A ruling is expected before the court’s term ends in late June or early July; the case is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Numerous other religious liberty cases across the country involve other bakers and wedding photographers and florists.
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Source: Baptist Press