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Courthouse Hands Christian Business Owner a Victory for the sake of Religious Freedom

After years of hearing about the abuse of Memories Pizza and Sweet Cakes by Melissa by groups who were trying to make an examples of Christian-owned establishments, something big has happened. These establishments refused to serve clients because of the fact that their products were to be purchased for gay marriages, an institution frowned upon by many Christian sects.

As reported in The Lexington Herald Leader:

In a 2-to-1 decision, a panel of appeals judges affirmed an earlier decision by Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael, who struck down a finding by the Lexington Human Rights Commission that the business violated the city’s fairness ordinance.

Hands On Originals’ managing owner, Blaine Adamson, refused to print T-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival because he disagreed with the shirt’s gay pride message.

“Because of my Christian beliefs, I can’t promote that,” Adamson told a Human Rights Commission hearing officer. “Specifically, it’s the Lexington Pride Festival, the name and that it’s advocating pride in being gay and being homosexual, and I can’t promote that message. It’s something that goes against my belief system.”

Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer wrote the decision, stating that refusal to print shirts for a Pride parade is not the same as refusing to serve them due to sexual behavior of their members, since printing on a shirt is a message that falls under speech:

A Christian who owns a printing company should not be compelled to spread a group’s message if he disagrees with it, Kramer wrote.

“The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property,” Kramer wrote.

“In other words, the ‘service’ Hands On Originals offers is the promotion of messages,” she wrote. “The ‘conduct’ Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech. There is no contention that Hands On Originals is a public forum in addition to a public accommodation. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship.”