An administrative law judge has ruled that a Kentucky printer’s refusal to print gay pride T-shirts “constitutes unlawful discrimination,” and, by extension, that printers cannot refuse to print materials promoting ideas they disagree with.
Hands On Originals is a business that prints custom designs on clothes, accessories and other items like mugs and bottles. According to the ruling, Blaine Adamson, its managing owner, “instructed his sales representatives to decline to design, print, or produce orders whenever the requested material was perceived to promote an event or organization that conveys messages that are considered by the sales representative or Mr. Adamson to be inappropriate or inconsistent with Christian beliefs.”
Don Lowe, board member of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, contacted three different printing companies in February 2012 about t-shirts for an upcoming gay pride festival, including Hands On Originals. A HOO sales representative approved the design without consulting Adamson, and Adamson didn’t see the design until weeks later, when Lowe called Adamson asking how to pay the deposit and attempting to negotiate a lower price.
During their conversation, Lowe told Adamson that the GLSO was sponsoring the Lexington Pride Festival, “the region’s up and coming premiere festival for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning community and its allies,” according to their website. At this point Adamson said his company would not be willing to print material “for an event that encouraged people to be proud of their same-sex behavior,” in the words of the ruling, but offered to give Lowe the name of another company that would do the same work for the same price. Lowe declined, and within a month a complaint was filed with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission.
SOURCE: TRISTYN BLOOM