Fayette County

Hands On Originals appeals ruling on refusal to print gay pride festival T-shirts

This logo is the image that organizers of Lexington's fifth annual gay pride festival asked Hands On Originals to print on a T-shirt for the event.
This logo is the image that organizers of Lexington's fifth annual gay pride festival asked Hands On Originals to print on a T-shirt for the event.

Owners of Hands On Originals have appealed a decision by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Human Rights Commission that the company discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington by refusing to print the group's Lexington Pride Festival T-shirts in 2012.

The appeal, filed Monday in Fayette Circuit Court, alleges the commission's ruling violates the T-shirt company's freedom of expression and religion.

In October, after a two-year process, the commission decided that Hands On Originals violated Lexington's fairness ordinance, which prohibits businesses from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation.

Hands On Originals said it declined the T-shirt order because of religious beliefs and disagreed with the shirt's message — a stylized numeral 5 on the front, and "Lexington Pride Festival" with a list of sponsors of the gay pride event on the back.

Jim Campbell, senior counsel for The Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona group representing Hands On Originals, said the appeal was filed because "no one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas they disagree with."

The appeal is asking that the commission's ruling be overturned, Campbell said; the suit seeks no damages. An attorney for the commission could not be reached Tuesday afternoon.

  Comments