Written by: Ben Marquis

A Kentucky appeals court has ruled 2-1 in favor of a Christian business owner who declined to provide services for organizers of a gay pride festival, a “crime” for which he had received official complaints and was subjected to a hateful smear campaign that nearly ended his company.

According to The Washington Times, Blaine Adamson of Hands On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky, was approached in 2012 by organizers of the Lexington Pride Festival with a request to print shirts for the event. Adamson respectfully declined because of his faith, and even referred the organizers to another shirt printer who was more than happy to receive their business.

But that was deemed unacceptable by the event organizers, who filed a complaint against Adamson with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, claiming they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation in violation of a local “fairness” ordinance.

The agency ultimately ordered Adamson to print the shirts in 2014, but a circuit court and now an appeals court have ruled against the agency and in favor of Adamson, with Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer writing that she found no evidence Adamson had “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of 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.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the court ruled that the “fairness” ordinance didn’t necessarily cover the free speech of business owners and that therefore an owner couldn’t be compelled to promote a message with which he wholeheartedly disagreed, in this case a Christian being asked to promote the gay lifestyle.

“The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property,” wrote Kramer. “In other words, the ‘service’ Hands On Originals offers is the promotion of messages.”

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