By Jack Minor
A human rights official in Kentucky says it might be perfectly fine for a printing company run by “gays” to refuse to print anti-”gay” literature, but a Christian company refusing to print T-shirts for a “gay” event would not have that same right.
The statements come from Raymond Sexton, executive director for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, in a dispute raised by local “gay” event promoters.
Hands On Originals, a company in Lexington, Ky., is being investigated by the commission after a local “gay” and lesbian group complained the company refused a request to print T-shirts for a local homosexual festival.
The company, which prominently says on its home page it is “Christian Outfitters,” and states a “right of refusal,” sells and produces a variety of custom products including clothing, coffee mugs, memory sticks and other items.
The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization wanted the company to print T-shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival and submitted a request without letting the company know the message to be printed.
Ultimately, the price from Hands On Online was the lowest bid. However, once the company became aware of what the shirts were going to be used for, officials declined the work, explaining creating and publicizing messages that promoted homosexuality were incompatible with the Christian values, on which the company was based, that viewed homosexuality as a sin.
In an attempt to accommodate the group, Hands on Online offered to locate another printer who would do the shirts for the same price by the deadline for the order.
The homosexuals refused and instead filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Commission, alleging discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
The complaint says:
“Members of GLSO were told that our Pride Festival T-shirt printing quote would not be honored due to the fact that the T-shirt company is a Christian organization.”
“We believe we have been discriminated against … based on sexual orientation.”
Following the complaint, the Lexington school district announced it was temporarily halting purchases from the company until the issue is resolved.
Jay Blanton, a spokesman for the University of Kentucky which has paid about $200,000 to the company since 2011, said he also is reconsidering their relationship with the company.
Sexton said Hands On Originals was subject to the city’s human rights ordinance which includes LGBT persons as a protected class because the company deals in goods and services to the public.
Blaine Adamson, owner of the company, released a statement to the Lexington Herald Leader, disputing that they discriminate against anyone based on their sexual preferences, stating the issue is over the message on the shirt — essentially a free speech issue.
In the terms and conditions section under “Right of Refusal” the company states, “Hands On Originals both employs and conducts business with people of all genders, races, religions, sexual preferences, and national origins.”
“However, due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of Hands On Originals to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”
Sexton told WND that the investigation was still ongoing, however if the company based its decision on sexual orientation it would be violating the law.
He went on to say that if a “gay” printing company was asked to print T-shirts from the Westboro Baptist Church, which is a militant anti-”gay” organization, saying “Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God,” the “gay” group would have the right to refuse to print the order.
“If the company does not approve of the message that is a valid non-discriminatory reason to refuse the work,” he said.
He also said a black business owner would have the right to refuse to print a flyer for a Klan rally.
However, when asked if the same would apply to Hands On Online if officials said “we don’t support ‘gay’ pride festivals, but we won’t discriminate against a person because they are ‘gay,’” Sexton was not as committed, simply saying “possibly.”
“This is a gray area, but possibly. I can’t say definitively, but it possibly could pass the test,” he said. “I would recommend they take the word ‘gay’ out of there and say they simply don’t approve of the message.”
Sexton also hinted he was skeptical of the company saying they were not going to do the shirts because of the homosexual message.
“From what I understand the message on the T-shirt was just their organization with the number 5. There was not any pro or anti-’gay’ message on the T-shirt.”
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray suggested the Christians should get over it. “People don’t have patience for this sort of attitude today.”
This is not the first time “gays” and lesbians have attempted to force a Christian business owner to violate their biblical convictions and accept their lifestyle.
Last year Victoria’s Cake Cottage in Iowa was threatened with a lawsuit and boycott by homosexuals after owner Victoria Childress told a lesbian couple she would not design a wedding cake for them because she believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Iowa is one of the few states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry.
Childress was approached by two women who asked her to design a wedding cake. When she asked them who it was for they said they were getting married to each other.
Upon hearing this, she politely advised the couple that due to her biblical convictions that marriage was between a man and a woman, she would not be able to make the cake.
“At no time was I impolite to them, I even took time to recommend other cake manufacturers that could assist them,” Childress said.
Rather than show tolerance towards Childress’ convictions and appreciate the effort given to help them find a baker, the couple went to a local media outlet and homosexual activists threatened her with a lawsuit under anti-discrimination laws.
Like Hands On Online, Childress says she has no problem doing work for anybody, just not a wedding cake.
“I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I won’t do ‘naughty cakes’ either for the same reason. I am standing for what the Bible says is right,” Childress said. “If they had come in and asked me to do a birthday cake, even if I knew they were lesbians, I would have done it.”
While Childress was never charged with discrimination, she says she is not surprised that an LGBT group is going after another Christian company that is standing for biblical principles towards the “gay” lifestyle.
She said a lawyer told her that the reason “gay” groups never pursued her in court was because she was too small and they were waiting for a bigger company to go after.
“He said they knew if they went after me they would be seen as a big bully and that’s not what they want. They want to go after the big corporations because that is where they can get the attention and the payouts are big.”
Additionally, WND has reported on the case of a photograph company in New Mexico. There Alan M. Malott, a judge at the district level, affirmed a state Civil Rights Commission order that two lesbians were allowed to force two photography company owners to violate their religious beliefs by photographing a same-sex “wedding,” even thought that ceremony was not legal in the state.
The case developed in 2006 when two lesbians asked Elaine Huguenin, co-owner with her husband, Jon Huguenin, of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, to photograph a “ceremony” that Willock and another woman wanted to hold in Taos. Neither marriage nor civil unions are legal between members of the same sex in New Mexico.
Elaine Huguenin declined because of her and her husband’s Christian beliefs.
The state ordered a $6,600 fine imposed on the company.
Malott said his ruling was based on the fact that homosexuals are granted special protections not given to other groups under state law.