Monday, May 15, 2017

Kentucky court rules Christian printer doesn't have to make gay pride T-shirts - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

In this case, the court accepted the argument that the owner was not discriminating when refusing to print words on the T-shirt at odds with his religious beliefs.

It's a small victory for religious freedom but at this point, any win is welcome.

An appellate court in Kentucky has ruled that a Christian print shop owner can refuse service to a gay rights organization who wanted him to supply "gay pride" T-shirts. 

In this case, the court accepted the argument that the owner was not discriminating when refusing to print words on the T-shirt at odds with his religious beliefs.

Wall Street Journal:
The ruling by the Kentucky Court of Appeals favored the business owner. A crucial difference in this case was the expressive nature of the service denied: literally words on a shirt.
In a split vote, a three-judge panel concluded that the store, Hands on Originals, couldn’t be forced to print a message with which the owner disagreed.
The dispute started in 2012 when Gay and Lesbian Services Organization in Kentucky asked Hands on Originals to make T-shirts with the name and logo of a pride festival.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands on Originals, said he refused to print the shirts because it violated his business’s policy of not printing messages that endorse positions in conflict with his convictions.
Mr. Adamson offered examples of other orders he refused, such as shirts featuring the word “bitches” or a depiction of Jesus dressed as a pirate.
The gay-rights group filed a complaint with the Lexington Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, which in 2014 ordered Mr. Adamson to make the shirts.
Friday’s decision affirmed an earlier ruling from a lower court. The commission, which brought the appeal, said the store was in violation of a local “fairness” ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of public accommodation.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals, one level below the state’s Supreme Court, disagreed, ruling that the conduct by the business wasn’t discrimination, rather a decision not to promote certain speech.
One judge on the panel dissented, saying he thought Mr. Adamson’s shop had engaged in “deliberate and intentional discriminatory conduct.”
In other lawsuits against religious business owners, courts have rejected First Amendment defenses.
The decision bucks the recent legal trends that elevates discrimination and discriminatory behavior above free speech and freedom of religion. In other cases, the courts have seen it as their duty to promote gay equality and punish discrimination regardless of religious beliefs. The Kentucky court disagreed, putting religious freedom ahead of the notion that a business must serve everyone, regardless of whether the sentiments expressed are in line with their faith.

What is particularly disturbing about these cases is that the gay couples and organizations who claim discrimination had other options. They could have gone to another printer, another baker or photographer for the service. Instead, they deliberately targeted the Christian businessman, believing that their refusal to serve them would mean notoriety and settlement money. 

One case of a similar nature may end up being heard by the Supreme Court. Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado was found guilty and fined for discrimination after refusing to bake a gay wedding cake. We should know in a few weeks if their appeal to the Supreme Court has been accepted. 

Rick Moran


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment