Should a printer be forced to print a message he opposes?

Marriage-Alliance-Australia-Printer-Forced.jpgIt has been an uphill battle for Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals, a custom apparel design company. In 2012, his company was approached to print shirts promoting the messages of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) and the Lexington Pride Festival, but Mr Adamson declined  on the basis that such a message conflicted with his religious beliefs.

The GLSO made a complaint to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission which ruled against Mr Adamson, mandating that regardless of his personal beliefs, he must print whatever clientele ordered from him.  

Mr Adamson appealed the ruling to the Fayette Circuit Court, which overturned the decision and ruled in favour of Mr Adamson.

In a bizarre twist, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission appealed the decision, using taxpayer money to force a small business owner to print shirts bearing a message contrary to his beliefs.  His lawyers, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), made it clear that it was the message – and not the service of any individual person – which Mr Adamson objected to.  In fact, Mr Adamson printed promotional material for a lesbian singer who was performing at the festival.

The trial court concluded that Adamson did not violate the law when he declined to print expressive shirts promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. Adamson regularly does business with and employs members of the LGBT community, so his decision was based not on any characteristic of the customer, but solely on Adamson’s constitutionally protected freedom to decline to convey a message with which he disagrees.

Since the United States legalised gay marriage, legal actions based on ‘discrimination’ have become more and more prevalent, even when a business owner does their best to accommodate the request of their potential customer. According to a news release from the ADF

Although Adamson declined to print the shirts because he did not want to convey the message that would be printed on them, he nevertheless offered to put the GLSO in touch with another printer that would produce the shirts. Unsatisfied, the GLSO filed a complaint with the commission despite eventually obtaining the shirts for free from another printer.

Adamson has said that he will print for any person but will not print every message. But, despite the efforts he took to point the GLSO to someone who could help them, they were unsatisfied with the outcome. Instead of meeting him halfway and peacefully working out an alternative which respected the rights of both parties, the LGBTI group was determined to make him forfeit his rights.

This is in stark contrast to recent events in Australia, when a printer refused to print a book authored by Dr David van Gend because it did not agree with the subject matter, or when radio station Nova refused to run an advertisement from Marriage Alliance because it was “significantly out of alignment with the Nova brand.” In neither of those cases were discrimination claims filed in an attempt to force the publication of a message with which the printer or the radio station disagreed. Yet, these tactics are constantly used by the LGBTI lobby. 

This is a warning to us. Redefining marriage will not come about without severe consequences, the greatest of these being the war upon personal freedoms. In a free country, the government does not have the right to mandate you to violate your deepest convictions. However, with the advent of legalised same-sex marriage, the days of being a free country will end. Instead, we will live under the dictatorship of ‘tolerance’ and ‘anti-discrimination’.

Watch Adamson’s story here

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