Lexington discrimination suit heads to Kentucky Supreme Court

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 18:25:00-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A big case will be argued in the Kentucky Supreme Court next week.

The case involves religious beliefs, Lexington's Fairness Ordinance and accusations of discrimination. All of it comes down to a t-shirt design from several years ago.

"This was their fifth anniversary of the Pride Festival. It just says Lexington Pride Festival with a series of multi-colored, rainbow dots," said Raymond Sexton with the Human Rights Commission.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission said that the 2012 shirt design was first approved for print by Hands On Originals, a private printing business. Court paperwork said that when the business realized the shirts were for the Gay Straight Lesbian Alliance, Hands On Originals refused to print the shirts.

The business's lawyer said that it is because the shirt's message goes against the owner's religious beliefs.

"The message on the shirt was clearly promoting ideas and views about human sexuality that conflict with Hands On Originals owner's religious beliefs," Jim Campbell with the Alliance Defending Freedom said in a phone interview.

In Lexington, there's a fairness ordinance that protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. So the question is, did Hands On Originals' owner violate the ordinance when he refused to print the shirts, or is he allowed to claim a religious exemption?

The Kentucky Supreme Court will take up the case on Friday, August 23. A big crowd is expected so they are telling people to get there early to get tickets to get inside.