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First Amendment upheld in Ky. Court of Appeals

LEXINGTON, Ky. (BP) — In an apparent victory for religious liberty in the marketplace, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on May 12 in favor of a Lexington, Ky., T-shirt company’s refusal to print gay pride shirts in 2012.

Hands On Originals, managed and owned by Blaine Adamson, a professing Christian, originally came under fire in 2012 when the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization in Lexington sought to hire him to print their shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival.

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Adamson and Hands On Originals won their case brought by the city commission to a lower court previously.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling, stating that Adamson’s refusal to print the T-shirts was not refusing service to an individual based on their sexual orientation, but rather, “the conduct Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship,” Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer, wrote in the appeals court opinion.

“This is a clear victory for the First Amendment and for the right of people of faith not to be bullied into agreeing with views they find objectionable,” Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, stated.

Hershael York, chair of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Public Affairs Committee, added, “While I celebrate this victory for religious liberty, I also lament that this has even been a question.” York is the senior pastor at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort and professor of Christian preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He continued, “No one should be compelled to act against his or her conscience in matters of faith. I’m glad the appellate court saw fit to apply the constitution correctly in this case, but I also can’t help but feel that we are going to be challenged again and again by those pushing an agenda of erotic liberty over all others.”