‘Americans should always have the freedom to say no’
(WND) – Fighting a precedent that could disrupt the “gay” agenda nationwide, officials with the Human Rights Commission in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky, have appealed to the state’s Supreme Court regarding a decision they already have lost twice.
The issue is the courts there have determined that those people who are running businesses must serve all people equally, but don’t have to treat all messages equally.
It was a T-shirt printer, Blaine Adamson, who with his company Hands On Originals, was sued by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for refusing to promote “gay” rights.
WND reported in May when the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a Fayette Circuit Court decision that sided with Adamson, saying he could not be forced to violate his faith by “gay” customers demanding he print their agenda message.
The “gay” activists now have appealed to the state Supreme Court, and officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom have charged that the high court should leave the decision alone.
“Americans should always have the freedom to say no when asked to express ideas that violate their conscience. Blaine is willing to serve all people, but he cannot print all messages. The two lower courts properly affirmed that Blaine can’t be forced to print words and logos that express ideas in conflict with his faith. The Kentucky Supreme Court should leave those decisions in place,” said Senior Counsel Jim Campbell.
A number of court rulings over the past few years have found that a “gay” activist’s right to have his or her lifestyle affirmed and promoted trumps the U.S. Constitution’s protections for religious liberty.
That’s essentially what a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, including two justices who had publicly advocated for same-sex “marriage” while the case was pending, found in the Obergefell decision in which they created the right to same-sex “marriage,” a creation that dissenting judges warned was unconnected to the Constitution.
In the T-shirt war, Adamson declined to promote homosexuality, and the Human Rights Commission ordered that he “must print messages that conflict with his faith when customers ask him to do so.”
While the decision so far has affected only the T-shirt case, the simple logic utilized by the court could ripple across the country in other cases, such as in Colorado where state officials ordered a baker and his staff to undergo re-training for refusing to promote homosexuality.
Or in Washington state where a florist is being penalized for her faith, or in Oregon where bakers’ have been punished for their faith, or in a dozen other disputes involving venue owners, photographers, even those who create invitations.
The lower court’s ruling in Kentucky said: “Nothing of record demonstrates HOO, through Adamson, refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity. Adamson testified he never learned of or asked about the sexual orientation or gender identity of of Don Lowe, the only representative of GLSO with whom he spoke regarding the T-shirts.
“Don Lowe testified he never told Adamson anything regarding his sexual orientation or gender identity. The GLSO itself also has no sexual orientation or gender identity: it is a gender-neutral organization that functions as a support network and advocate for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered,” the court found.
“Also, nothing of record demonstrates HOO, through Adamson, refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question was engaging in an activity or conduct exclusively or predominantly by a protected class of people.”
The ruling said, “The ‘service’ HOO offers is the promotion of messages. The ‘conduct’ HOO chose not to promote was pure speech. There is no contention that HOO is a public forum in addition to a public accommodation. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits HOO, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship.”
The ruling said the commission’s finding against the T-shirt company “would allow any individual to claim any variety of protected class discrimination under the guise of the fairness ordinance merely by requesting a T-shirt espousing support for a protected class and then receiving a value-based refusal.”
“A Buddhist who requested T-shirts from HOO stating, ‘I support equal treatment for Muslims,’ could complain of religious discrimination under the fairness ordinance if HOO opposed equal treatment for Muslims and refused to print the T-shirts on that basis.”
The case developed in 2014 when the commission ruled against Adamson, who was defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Adamson, at the time of the request in 2012, had offered to find the customer another printer to do the shirts, and the “gay” organization eventually got them for free.
But the organization filed a complaint against Adamson anyway.
Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer wrote the majority opinion that Adamson did not unlawfully discriminate.
Judge Debra Hemgree Lambert wrote a concurrence, finding the company is protected under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Statute.
“We commend the court’s ruling, which upholds the First Amendment’s promise that everyone, including businesses and their owners, can decide for themselves the ideas and beliefs that they choose to express,” said Bryan Beauman of Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney PLLC of Lexington.
See a video describing the issues in the case:
Under ex-President Obama, pursuing an agenda that presumably is being left by the wayside under President Trump, a report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights lamented that the Constitution limits governmental burdens on religion.
The agency’s report from just last year, when Obama only had a few months left in the White House, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” gets immediately to the point.
Religion ‘infringes’ on civil rights
On the first of 306 pages, the “letter of transmittal” to Barack Obama states, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”
It says the fault lies with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which “constricts the ability of government actors to curtail private citizens’ rights to the protections of nondiscrimination laws and policies.”
“Although the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … limit the ability of government actors to impede individuals from practicing their religious beliefs, religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and policies must be weighed carefully and defined narrowly on a fact-specific basis,” states the letter.
Then the commission got to what it really wants, stating federal legislation “should be considered to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions and only to the extent that they do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights protections against status-based discrimination.”
“States with RFRA-style laws should amend those statutes to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions. States with laws modeled after RFRA must guarantee that those statutes do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights with status-based discrimination,” the Obama agenda claimed.