A Christian printer has received influential backing in his legal battle for free speech and religious liberty in the US.
Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals, declined a request in 2012 to make shirts for a US gay pride event because it conflicted with his “sincerely held religious beliefs”.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission said Adamson acted unlawfully by turning down the order, but he has since won two cases in the lower courts in Kentucky. His case is now set to go before the state Supreme Court.
‘Freedom of conscience’
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, an evangelical Christian, wrote to the court to say: “Kentucky is, and always has been, a land of freedom of conscience, where citizens can live without fear that the government will prescribe what beliefs and speech are orthodox and require conformity therewith.”
In a show of support that has been described as “both broad and diverse”, multiple organisations and ten states have also backed Adamson’s stance.
Adamson is being supported in his case by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty group.
ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell said: “As the numerous briefs filed in this case affirm, printers and other creative professionals should be able to peacefully live and work according to their beliefs without fear of punishment by the government.”
“Blaine serves all people. He simply declines to print messages that conflict with his faith. The law promises him that freedom”, he added.
ADF-allied Attorney and Co-Counsel Bryan Beauman said: “Scholars and organizations that support LGBT legal causes have united in one voice with free-speech and religious-liberty groups, and they agree that the commission cannot force Blaine to print messages that conflict with his beliefs.”
Ashers Baking Company
In Northern Ireland, the Christian owners of Ashers Baking Company are being sued after they turned down an order for a cake with a pro same-sex marriage campaign slogan.
The UK Supreme Court has confirmed that it will sit in Belfast to hear arguments in the case, the week commencing 30 April 2018.