When a Christian Business Refuses to Print Gay Pride T-Shirts, an Unlikely Defender Steps Up
Christian businesses now have the answer to the question of who else will defend them against the government forcing them to accept business with which they disagree.
In 2012, a Kentucky t-shirt maker, ”Hands On Originals,” was approached by a local gay rights group to make shirts for the upcoming ”Gay Pride Festival.” Owner Blaine Adamson politely refused the business.
Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington complained to the Human Rights Commission and, as a result, Adamson was not only ordered to make the shirts, he was ordered to attend diversity training to show him how wrongheaded his religious beliefs were.
The government also ordered Adamson to accept all gay, lesbian, and transgender business in the future.
As The Washington Post reports, an appeals court ruled that the Commission overstepped its bounds under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It ultimately ruled in favor of the ”Hands On Originals.”
The Commission has appealed, but its case could be undermined by support from local businesses – gay-owned businesses, to be specific – which are now going to bat for the t-shirt company.
”Just as a pro-choice printer has a right to decline to print a religious message attacking Planned Parenthood, and a gay photographer has a right to decline to photograph a religious anti-gay rally, a Christian printer has a right to decline to print messages that violate his beliefs.”
The Christian Post reports Diane DiGeloromo, an owner of BMP T-shirts, a lesbian-owned business, also told the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom that the law is wrong:
”If we were approached by an organization such as the Westboro Baptist Church, I highly doubt we would be doing business with them, and we would be very angry if we were forced to print anti-gay T-shirts. This isn’t a gay or straight issue. This is a human issue.”
Her business partner, Kathy Trautvertter, agreed, saying small businesses shouldn’t be forced to take business with which they disagree:
”You put your blood and your sweat and your tears into [your business] and it’s very personal.
When I put myself in [Mr. Adamson’s] shoes, I could see it from his side.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom says other gay businesses have come to the support of the t-shirt company.
The case is now before the Kentucky Court of Appeals.