Printer who nixed gay pride shirt goes to Ky. Supreme Court

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WTVQ) – A Kentucky print shop owner who refused to make a gay pride T-shirt argued before the Kentucky Supreme Court that he shouldn’t be compelled to promote messages that go against his religious beliefs.

Blaine Adamson is owner of Hands-On Originals in Lexington and declined to print a shirt promoting an LGBT pride festival in 2012. The city’s Human Rights Commission said that refusal violated its gay-rights fairness ordinance.

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On Friday, the high court heard an attorney for the T-shirt maker argue that the First Amendment protects him from having to print that message. An attorney for the Human Rights Commission says the T-shirt maker cannot pick and choose who it wants to serve in the Lexington community.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments from attorneys.

“That’s why we have a public accommodation ordinance to stop businesses from allowing certain populations to be discriminated against and not enjoy the goods and services that offered by that business,” Edward Dove, attorney for the commission, said.

Hands-On Originals attorney Jim Campbell said it’s not about discriminating against a population its about the message.

“That if Mr. Adamson asked what would be printed on the shirt before he made the decision that that does tend to show he was motivated by the message and not the protected class status of the person who was inquiring,” Campbell said.

One of the justices said it’s not a black and white decision.

“That’s only one issue whether it’s compelled speech or not,” Justice Michelle Keller said. “We still have the religious conviction issue. How far can the government go in inquiring as to one’s religious convictions?”

The high court will issue a ruling at a later date.

 

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com