A US Christian printer should not be forced by the State to produce messages that conflict with his convictions, lawyers have warned.
Blaine Adamson’s company, Hands On Originals, declined to print t-shirts for a gay pride festival in 2012 because he did not want to promote its message. The organisation behind the event then sued him.
A judge later backed Adamson’s move, and the lesbian owners of a t-shirt company spoke out in his defence.
But an appeals court is now considering the case, with religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) representing Adamson.
No matter what you believe, the government shouldn’t be able to force you to create speech that conflicts with your deepest convictions.
ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell said: “Protecting Blaine’s freedom protects everyone’s freedom, regardless of their beliefs or convictions”.
He added: “No matter what you believe, the government shouldn’t be able to force you to create speech that conflicts with your deepest convictions.
Message, not customer
“The trial court’s decision rightly affirmed that, and we are asking the court of appeals to do the same.”
Last year, a judge in Kentucky ruled in favour of Hands On Originals, saying its refusal to print the order was based on the message being promoted, not the sexual orientation of the customer.
No one really should be forced to do something against what they believe in, it’s as simple as that.
A lesbian couple who also own a t-shirt company backed Adamson in 2014, saying no one should be forced to go against their conscience.
Kathy Trautvetter and Diane DiGeloromo, owners of BMP T-shirts in New Jersey, openly defended Adamson’s right to refuse the order.
Trautvetter said that as a business owner herself, she “really felt” for Adamson, while DiGeloromo explained: “We feel this really isn’t a gay or straight issue, this is a human issue.
“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, Ashers Baking Company was found to have broken the law when it declined to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan.
But Daniel McArthur, General Manager of Ashers, has always maintained that the company’s actions were to do with the message on the cake and not the customer.