By now the stories have become too familiar. A Washington state florist forced to provide floral arrangements for same sex marriages or lose her business, a Colorado cake artist forced to design same sex wedding cakes or suffer crippling fines, farmers in Missouri forced to host same sex weddings at their orchard or be banned from doing business in one of their most lucrative markets. These instances are becoming so common in the past few years that we are almost getting used to them.
It’s also happening in Lexington, Kentucky to a printer by the name of Blaine Adamson. Blaine operates a printing company called Hands On Originals. As is the case with all of the other cases, Blaine operates his business on Christian principles, according to his conscience. In 2012, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, Blaine was asked to print shirts with a message promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, an event that the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization hosted. Naturally, Blaine politely and respectfully declined to print the shirts, however he did refer the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization to another nearby printer who ended up providing the shirts for free to the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.
Unsatisfied, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, and four years ago, the Commission decided that Blaine must print shirts that conflict with his religious beliefs if he receives those requests from his customers.
In October of last year, the state high court agreed to hear the case. Two lower courts have already upheld the freedom of Blaine Adamson and his promotional print shop, Hands On Originals, to decline to print messages that violate Adamson’s beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Adamson and his shop.
“As the numerous briefs filed in this case affirm, printers and other creative professionals should be able to peacefully live and work according to their beliefs without fear of punishment by the government,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “Blaine serves all people. He simply declines to print messages that conflict with his faith. The law promises him that freedom.”
10 states have filed a friend of the court brief in support of Blaine. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has also filed a friend of the court brief in support of Blaine, arguing that “Kentucky is, and always has been, a land of freedom of conscience, where citizens can live without fear that the government will prescribe what beliefs and speech are orthodox and require conformity therewith.” In addition, multiple organizations and legal scholars have filed friend of the court briefs supporting Blaine:
- 16 legal scholars
- 4 law and economics scholars
- The American Center For Law & Justice
- Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
- The Cato Institute
- Center for Religious Expression
- Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Jews for Religious Liberty, and Kentucky Baptist Convention
- Sherif Girgis
- Sutherland Institute
- Tyndale House Publishers
Watch Blaine Adamson’s story below.