US: Human Rights Commission backs pride organisers over t-shirt printing refusal
The Human Rights Commission in Lexington, Kentucky has sided with organisers of a gay pride event, who were refused service by a Christian t-shirt printing company, because of its religious beliefs.
Hands On Originals, a t-shirt printing company, refused to print apparel for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organisation, ahead of the city’s gay pride parade.
The managing owner of Hands On, Blaine Adamson, had said he refused to complete the order from the GLSO because it is a Christian company, and doing so would have gone against his beliefs, reported Kentucky.com: He said:
“Due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”
This ruling by the Human Rights Commission could lead to a public hearing on the issue, which would decide whether or not the company violated any law by refusing the order.
Aaron Barker, a spokesperson for the GLSO released a statement following the decision:
“We’re not seeking fines or monetary damages or anything else,” he said. “In some sense, I feel like we’ve gotten what we were looking for since the Human Rights Commission has agreed with us.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is the Christian group of attorneys representing Hands On Originals, and aims to focus on “religious freedom”. Attorney Jim Campbell said in a statement:
“Americans in the marketplace should not be subject to legal attacks simply for abiding by their beliefs,”
“The Constitution prohibits the government from forcing business owners to promote messages they disagree with … The process will continue, and Alliance Defending Freedom will have the opportunity to provide a robust defense of our client’s fundamental freedoms protected under the US Constitution.”