The owner of Lexington Kentucky-based Hands On Originals, Blaine Adamson, was sued for refusing to make gear for a pride event. The incident happened in March of 2012, where Adamson was asked to make t-shirts for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO). Adamson declined, stating that the design requested went against his beliefs and convictions that relationships should be between a man and a woman.
Despite Adamson even referring the GLSO to another company who would print for them, a legal complaint was filed against him and his company. The complaint stated that the GLSO felt that they “were being discriminated against.” This is coupled with the organization getting price quotes from two other companies during the time of this complaint.
In his affidavit, Adamson documented information about his company, as well as these bold statements:
- “I am a Christian. As such, I believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and that I should strive to live consistently with its teachings.”
- “I believe that God commands obedience in all areas of my life. I do not distinguish between conduct in my personal life and my actions as a business owner.”
- “I believe that every aspect of my life-including my role as a business owner and employer-belongs to God and is a way that I bear witness to Jesus Christ through service in the world. All work is a calling from God and an opportunity to serve Him. As I honor and serve God in my daily life, I worship Him, and thus for me, work and worship cannot be separated.”
In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Adamson mentioned how he even employs gays and lesbians, and has printed for gay and lesbian organizations in the past, including the same event of the legal complaint. He also stated that he once rejected a quote for a shirt from a pastor that read, “Homosexuality is Sin,” due to his conviction of how Jesus would approach the matter, balancing grace and truth.
Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing Adamson, stated in the same interview that he has a constitutional right of not being forced to create messages or celebrate events that violate his core convictions. She added, “it we want that freedom for ourselves, then we have to extend it to those with whom we disagree.” This legal complaint from the GLSO essentially violates the freedom of expression, according to Waggoner.
Adamson, still staying encouraged, states that he has to continue on with his t-shirt company and press through the legal battle. Waggoner added that there are many people on both sides who is in support of Adamson for standing up for his convictions. The latest legal document, which was a Motion for Discretionary Review received on July 11, 2017, provided this excerpt.
“Rarely are cases that involve expressive freedom, religious liberty, and LGBT rights so clear cut that they unite people with opposing ideological perspectives. But this case does. Lesbian print-shop owners, LGBT advocates, and groups that support gay rights have joined with free-speech and religious-liberty groups, and they all agree that the Commission cannot force HOO to print messages that conflict with its owners’ beliefs. Such a straightforward legal question with consensus across ideological lines does not warrant this Court’s attention.”
The Kentucky appellate court ruled in favor of HOO, agreeing that the matter was not a refusal of service, but rather the message he refused to endorse. As a result, it was determined that Adamson should not be forced to create product and spread a message that goes against his convictions.