The Supreme Court of Kentucky has thrown out a lawsuit against a t-shirt manufacturer that refused to print gay pride t-shirts on religious grounds.
Two previous courts had come to similar conclusions in the suit, which was filed by the LGBTQ rights organization Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services. The group had approached Hands-On Originals, owned by Blake Adamson, to print shirts that read “Lexington Pride Festival” in 2012. Adamson’s refusal led to the lawsuit.
Related: The Supreme Court showed its liberal/conservative split in LGBTQ cases. Here’s how it went.
“While this result is no doubt disappointing to many interested in this case and its potential outcome, the fact that the wrong party filed the complaint makes the discrimination analysis almost impossible to conduct, including issues related to freedom of expression and religion,” the court wrote in its decision. In layman’s terms, the court punted, essentially refusing to make a decision on if a shop owner can discriminate against a customer on religious grounds. Instead, the judges ruled that Lexington’s Gay & Lesbian Services had no right to sue, as anti-discrimination laws only protect individuals, not groups.
The Kentucky ruling comes at a sensitive time, as the Trump Administration has argued before the federal Supreme Court that queer Americans are not entitled to job protections.
I’d take my business elsewhere. $$$ talks & BS walks. That’s freedom of speech 101.. I get the long term implications of h this case/ruling, but over T-shirts. Oy Vey..
Can people please take a civics class. Free speech means that the government can’t imprison or penalize you for speaking out against it. It doesn’t have to do with commerce or religion.
Obviously the Gay & Lesbian Services group chose this business for the purpose of suing. Any person that wants bulk t-shirts done would go to Printful, CustomInk, Vistaprint or the other top players in the custom t-shirt business.
If you go to the Hands-On-Originals website, it clearly says “Christian Outfitters” and says they make “customized Christian apparel” for Christian related events. This group knew the company would reject their order to create custom Pride t-shirts.
According to the actual facts of the case in the court docket online for Baker vs Hands On Originals, it says the owner of the t-shirt company has printed shirts for a lesbian musician in the past for a Christian event. His business just doesn’t print shirt outside of that scope. It also says that he helped put the Gay and Lesbian Services group in touch with another printing company who would match his prices or better and then got them their shirts for FREE.
But the Gay and Lesbian Services (whose leader is straight) group still filed a complaint and demanded that even though he helped them get FREE shirts elsewhere that he MUST print their shirts and they demand that he attend “diversity training”. In the end, they just wasted tax payer dollars to fight something they caused in the first place 7 years ago.
For instance, if it was an LGBT t-shirt printing business, I assume they would refuse to print Straight Pride shirts even if it was done as a joke. Same as pro-choice printers would refuse to print pro-life messages and vice-versa or a printing company that refuses to print political messages.
truthseeker . . . I agree with all you wrote. I would never take my business to anyone who didn’t want it. I have always felt that if a person owns a business, they have the right to operate it in any fashion they want. There are too many alternatives to cause such an uproar. This was a ‘planned legal problem’. It was a setup. That makes me even more supportive of the business that they said refused them service. I, personally, feel when gay groups stir up all this kind of trouble, they are not helping the cause. That goes for ANY group that loves to ‘bait’ businesses so they can sue them.
It starts with T-shirts. Where does it end? When do we draw a line and say enough is enough?
It actually started with a cake
You can’t really draw any conclusions here, since the suit was dismissed on the issue of standing. We still don’t know how the court would rule if a customer wanted a t-shirt (or cake, or anything else) with a design the business owner objected to (the design angle, incidentally, is what distinguishes it from the wedding cake cases, where the business owner refused to make a cake for the gay couple regardless of the design)
What is happening is the same thing that happened in the South with Sam Crow laws. In the South they believed that the Bible says the “whites” are superior over the “blacks” and the “blacks” should be slaves because it said so in the Bible. This resulted in the “White Only” business or entrances and “Colored Only” business or entrances.
The right wing dipshits wants to take us back to the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s but for the LGBTQ community. I think it’s our duty to put these business out of business any way possible.
Mack, I was ready to agree with Invader7 and Cam until I read your post. You’re right. Refusing to print gay-oriented t-shirts or bake a wedding cake for a gay couple is no different than refusing to print t-shirts celebrating black history month or bake a cake for a black couple. It’s discrimination based on a person’s fundamental identity, and it should be outlawed. The question is not about free speech but rather whether we believe that a person who holds bias against a class of people based on some fundamental characteristic has the right to refuse them equal treatment based on that bias. “I don’t like you because you’re gay and therefore won’t serve you” is no different from “I don’t like you because you’re black and therefore won’t serve you.” Try that anywhere in America today (even Trump’s America) and see how it flies when it goes to court.
LOL LOL Honey, there were called J-I-M Crow laws. I have no idea who the hell was Sam Crow. lol lol Oh lord, you yankees. lol lol
Of course, the worst are states with Sheryl Crow laws. When all you wanna do is have a little fun, but you’re not allowed because the color of your skin.
Man About Town
Don’t forget those Cameron Crowe laws where you’re Almost Famous!
Kentucky: 6 million people, 11 different last names
i mean…how many t-shirt makers and bakers are there? never understood why anyone would want to try and force someone/a business to do something like that…. move on!
So Ky. Sup. Court says that discrimination against a single person can be litigated. If there is more than one suffering discrimination, then they will not get Equal Protection Under the Law in Kentucky. It is sad day in America when discrimination has a legal imprimatur.
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