Religious freedom advocates commended a Kentucky Supreme Court decision Thursday (Oct. 31) in support of a business owner who declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival.
The state high court ruled unanimously the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) did not have “statutory standing” under a local ordinance to bring the challenge against Hands On Originals, giving the Lexington shop and managing owner Blaine Adamson their third legal victory. Two lower courts had previously upheld Adamson’s right to print only messages that are consistent with his beliefs.
Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore described the ruling as “good news for every American.”
“We need to live in the kind of country where we can be free to seek to persuade one another, not bully each other into silence,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), in a news release. “Conservative evangelicals, secular progressives and everyone in between ought to be able to agree on the idea that a state must not act as lord over the conscience.
“My hope is that this decision is a sign that courts around the country will continue to uphold conscience freedom and personal soul liberty.”
The ERLC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Hands On Originals, contending the government should not be permitted to punish the business for the religious beliefs of Adamson and his fellow shareholders/owners. The brief also argued the expression of a person’s faith is not restricted to a home or place of worship. The Kentucky Baptist Convention and Jews for Religious Liberty also joined in the brief.
Jim Campbell, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said the opinion “makes clear that this case never should have happened.”
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Source: Baptist Press