A Kentucky judge ruled Monday that the refusal of a printing company to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival due to its owners’ religious beliefs was legit.
The ruling comes only a day before the state attorney’s hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court where they will try to uphold the current definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Judge James Ishmael’s decision overturns a last year’s decision issued by a human rights commission. In October 2014, the panel found that the company infringed anti-discriminatory laws by its refusal to print the gay pride T-shirts the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization had ordered.
But the judge found that the company’s owners were also entitled to freedom of speech and religion and refuse to take an order that would be at odds with their deep-seated religious beliefs.
“This court does not fault the Commission in its interest in insuring citizens have equal access to services but that is not what this case is all about,”
the Kentucky judge stated.
He also argued that there was no clear evidence that the printing firm or its owners decided not to print those T-shirts based on the sexual orientation of their clients. Instead the company declined to take the order because of the message on those T-shirts, which promoted a sexual activity outside the traditional concept of a marriage.
On Tuesday, four states including Kentucky must convince the US Supreme Court judges that the traditional concept of marriage from their constitutions should be upheld. Moreover, a series of briefs filed with the nation’s highest court argued that overturning the traditional concept of marriage would lead to social distress as many other business owners would be forced to cater for gay weddings or gay activities, which are against their most sincere religious beliefs.
But the Kentucky case was not unique. In New Mexico, a photographer declined to participate in a same-sex marriage. The woman said that taking photos of the couple during the ceremony would offend her religious beliefs.
In Colorado, a bakery declined to produce a cake for a same-sex marriage, after telling the couple that they were free to buy anything in the store. The owners were brought in court for discrimination where they cited their religious beliefs.
In Washington state, a flower shop declined to take an order from two gay men who wanted a nice arrangement for their marriage. Although one of the gay men was a customer of that flower shop for more than nine years, the owner for the business told him that arranging flowers for a same-sex marriage would be sacrilegious.
Lawyers of the business owners sued over discrimination issues underlined in each case that their clients did not refuse to serve their gay or lesbian clients. Instead they only declined to actively be engaged and indirectly promote activities which were against their religious beliefs.
In Kentucky, the owner of the Hands On Originals printing company did not accept to take an order for the Lexington Pride Festival, because the T-Shirts would promote sexual activities offensive to his religion. But as his clients found another printing company to do the job, he was also sued in the meantime.
Image Source: Inquisitr