gay rights t-shirtA Christian printing company in Kentucky was backed by a judge in state court over its refusal to print pro-gay T-shirts for a gay pride event. His decision reversed an October 2014 human rights commission decision that found the printing company in violation of the rights of the gay rights group that submitted a complaint in 2012 after the printer refused their order, but referred them to another printing company to fulfill their order.

In his opinion, the judge stated the Christian owners were within their freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion rights to refuse any message they didn’t agree with. He noted further that they had proven by the company’s past history that they weren’t targeting gays for discrimination, but had issues with the message that the gay rights group wanted on the T-shirts since it violated their beliefs about any sex outside of traditional marriage. In the past, the company had refused several orders, such as a print job for a strip club, a sexually explicit video promotion, and someone wanting to promote a violent message.

Circuit Judge James Ishmael ruled that Hands On Originals “rather than discriminating…had consistently followed its own policy of not printing offensive messages.” Since the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization was known to be a group in opposition to their beliefs, GLSO was in a long line of refusals for Hands On, who exercised their company policies firmly and consistently over several years.

The attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom who represented the company expressed his satisfaction with the ruling by stating, “The government can’t force citizens to surrender free-speech rights or religious freedom in order to run a small business, and this decision affirms that. The court rightly recognized that the law protects [the company’s] decision not to print shirts with messages that conflict with [the owners’] beliefs, and that no sufficient reason exists for the government to coerce [the owners] to act against [their] conscience in this way.”

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

Source: Warren Richey, Kentucky judge upholds Christian printer’s refusal to print gay pride T-shirts, Yahoo News, April 27, 2015.

Harry A. Gaylord

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