Four Christian Business Owners Continue to Fight for Religious Freedom in Legal Battles

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Aug. 12 in the case of Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals apparel company, who will defend his decision to refuse to print T-shirts for a 2012 gay pride festival.

At least four Christian business owners continue to fight for their religious liberty in years-long court battles.

Kentucky T-shirt printer Blaine Adamson, Colorado cake baker Jack Phillips and Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein are fighting for their right to reject business projects that violate their freedom of conscience.

On Aug. 23, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear oral arguments as Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals apparel company, defends his decision to refuse to print T-shirts for a 2012 gay pride festival.

Jack Phillips, who twice prevailed against the Colorado Civil Right Commission (CCRC) –- once in the U.S. Supreme Court — is in court a third time. In June a transgender attorney sued the baker personally after the CCRC dropped the attorney’s case against Phillips in March. The transgender attorney is seeking personal damages after Phillips refused to bake a cake in 2017 celebrating the attorney’s transition from male to female.

And attorneys for Aaron and Melissa Klein filed a brief Aug. 8 in the Oregon Court of Appeals after an earlier decision against the couple was vacated. Sweet Cakes by Melissa in 2013 refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.

Adamson

The Lexington-Fayette County Human Rights Commission in 2014 charged Adamson of violating the county’s anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing to print T-shirts for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO).

Adamson refused to print the shirts promoting the gay pride festival because the message violates his faith, Adamson’s legal counsel Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has said throughout the court battle. In 2012, Adamson offered to refer GLSO to another company.

Adamson won his argument in the Fayette Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but the county appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court in January 2018.

Adamson often refuses print jobs, ADF said on its website.

“From 2010 to 2012 alone, Hands On Originals declined at least 13 orders because of their messages, including shirts promoting a violent message, shirts promoting a strip club, and pens promoting a sexually explicit video,” the ADF said. “While Blaine serves every person, he cannot express every message.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Diana Chandler