A judge in Kentucky has ruled in favour of a printing company that refused to produce t-shirts for a gay pride event, Pink News reports.
Hands On Originals initially accepted an order placed by Lexington Pride in 2012 but soon cancelled when they discovered that the t-shirts were designed for a gay pride event.
The company’s boss Blaine Adamson told Fox News in a statement that the order was rejected on religious grounds.
“People often ask me why I made that decision,” said Adamson. “Here is what I tell them: I will 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 beliefs, that’s not something that I can print."
Adamson continued: “That’s the line for me. I never thought living out my faith would be the cause of so much controversy."
Members of the Pride Community Services Organisation have expressed their disappointment at the decision and are expected to take the case to the Supreme Court.
“Hands On Originals' position relies on the absurd argument that printing a T-Shirt with the number '5' on it with multi-colored circles and the words “Lexington Pride Festival” somehow promotes “homosexual activity" and that it is their right to censor that ‘speech,’” the group said in a statement.
“However, this ruling is not about free speech, it is about how LGBTQ+ persons are treated in their communities every day, as second class citizens.
“This ruling is about the LGBTQ+ community’s right to exist openly and not be shoved back in to the closet by any means necessary.
“Today it is about a T-shirt, tomorrow it may be your, your child’s, your friend’s, or your neighbour’s ability to enjoy a night out to dinner with their same-sex partner."
The Lexington Human Rights Commission executive director—Raymond Sexton—said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the court’s decision.
“Last night, our board unanimously voted to file for a discretionary review.
“Our position remains the same, that is it was about the message being printed then Hands On Originals would have declined to do the work immediately.
“It wasn’t until they found out what event the shirts were for that they had a problem,” he added.
Lexington Pride has 30 days to appeal the decision.