A Kentucky federal court issued a ruling Friday that allows a Christian printer to decline orders that promote messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
That decision reverses a ruling from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission which said that Blaine Adamson must print messages that conflict with his faith or else he is guilty of discrimination.
In 2012, Adamson declined to print shirts for a gay rights group with a message promoting a gay pride event in Lexington. Instead, he referred the group to another printer who would happily print the message. The group filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission despite having all of the shirts printed for free by another business.
When the commission found Adamson actions as a human rights violation, he took the battle to the Kentucky appeals court and won.
“Americans should always have the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom to not express ideas that would violate their conscience,” said Jim Campbell, Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom. “Today’s decision is a victory for printers and other creative professionals who serve all people but cannot promote all messages. It is also a victory for all Americans because it reassures us all that, no matter what you believe, the law can’t force you to express a message in conflict with your deepest convictions.”
Adamson says he is willing to work with anyone, but he will not compromise his faith.
“I’ll work with any person no matter who they are, no matter what their belief systems are, but when they present a message that conflicts with my religious convictions, it’s not something that I can print,” he said.
The appeals court opinion said Adamson had not refused business “because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity.” In fact, Adamson regularly does business with and employs people who identify as LGBT.
Supporters of Adamson view the ruling as a big win for religious freedom.