Posted: Nov 26, 2012 4:31 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 12:59 PM
The Lexington Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission has ruled against the Lexington based t-shirt business, "Hands On Originals."
In March of 2012, Hands On Originals refused to print the t-shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival, on the grounds that "Hands On" is a Christian-based organization.
The Gay and Lesbian Service Organization filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and that ruling came down Monday afternoon saying "Hands On Originals" did in fact discriminate against the group.
A statement released on behalf of "Hands On Originals" reads:
"Americans in the marketplace should not be subject to legal attacks simply for abiding by their beliefs," said Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jim Campbell. "The Constitution prohibits the government from forcing business owners to promote messages they disagree with. This kind of bullying may be practiced in a dictatorship, but violations of conscience have no place in the United States. The process will continue, and Alliance Defending Freedom will have the opportunity to provide a robust defense of our client's fundamental freedoms protected under the U.S. Constitution."
Below is the official press release from the Gay and Lesbian Service Organization, GLSO.
HRC rules against Hands On Originals
The Human Rights Commission ruled that Hands On Originals (HOO) is guilty of discrimination by refusing to print the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival t-shirts. In March of 2012, the Lexington Pride Festival Committee gathered quotes to have their t-shirts printed. HOO provided the best quote for the needs of the committee. When the committee contacted HOO to accept the quote, HOO refused to do the work under the grounds that they were a Christian organization.
The Lexington Pride Festival, a committee of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), reported HOO's refusal to the board. Under Lexington's Fairness Ordinance, the board decided to pursue a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC). The Fairness Ordinance states that a company that provides general services cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The GLSO argued that printing t-shirts is a general service; therefore, HOO cannot discriminate against GLSO by refusing to print t-shirts on Christian grounds after providing a quote. There were some questions as to whether an organization can file a discrimination complaint, but Ray Sexton, director of the HRC, agreed to investigate the complaint. Under the auspices of the HRC, the GLSO and HOO met to attempt mediation, but the attempt failed.
This week the HRC produced a verdict against HOO. The GLSO was elated with the verdict. GLSO president Aaron Baker said, "We didn't win any money - we won what we were looking for all along - a declaration that HOO acted wrongly and an order not to do it again."