A Christian printer who declined to make shirts for a US gay pride event has won his court case, in a ruling described as a victory for creative professionals.
Blaine Adamson was sued after turning down the order because it promoted a message that conflicted with “sincerely held religious beliefs”.
On Friday, an appeals court in Kentucky found in favour of the Christian designer, who runs Hands On Originals, with one judge saying there was no evidence Adamson had turned down any work because of a customer’s sexual orientation.
Alliance Defending Freedom represented Adamson and welcomed the decision.
Jim Campbell from the group said: “Americans should always have the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom to not express ideas that would violate their conscience”.
He added that the decision was “a victory for printers and other creative professionals who serve all people but cannot promote all messages”.
Another religious liberty group, Becket, said the “beauty of free speech” was that it protects everyone.
In Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer’s ruling, she said that there was no evidence Adamson’s business “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”.
Judge Debra Hembree Lambert agreed, saying Adamson has the legal right to operate his business in accordance with his “sincerely held religious beliefs”.
Adamson declined the order in 2012 and later the lesbian owners of another t-shirt company backed him. Kathy Trautvetter said it struck a chord, while Diane DiGeloromo stated: “No one really should be forced to do something against what they believe in, it’s as simple as that”.
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 agreed to hear arguments for appeal in October 2017.