KENTUCKY: State Appeals Court Rules Businesses Can Turn Away Gays In The Name Of Religious Liberty

Lexington’s NBC affiliate reports:

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled a Lexington business was within its rights when it refused to print shirts for Lexington’s Gay Pride Festival. The owner of Hands on Originals argued that he refused to print the shirts for the 2012 festival because it was against his religious beliefs.

Later, the Human Rights Commission ruled the business had discriminated against potential customers based on their sexual preferences. The commission appealed a circuit court ruling that said the business owner was within his rights, but the court of appeals agreed with the circuit judge.

Tony Perkins celebrates via press release:

We are pleased to learn today that the Kentucky Court of Appeals has an understanding that the freedom of the press also includes t-shirt presses. This is a case in which it is difficult to overstate the enormous implications for both free speech and religious freedom. The court was presented with this question: Does government have the power to force citizens to engage in speech they disagree with. The answer is a clear ‘no.’

This ruling affirms our nation’s long history of protecting Americans from being compelled by the government to advocate a message to which one objects. We applaud our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom for prevailing over the notion that surrendering First Amendment rights is just the ‘price of doing business.’ We hope to hear soon that the U.S. Supreme Court will accept the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and ensure that the owner, Jack Phillips, will be free to follow his religious beliefs without fear of punishment by the government,

Lexington enacted its LGBT rights ordinance in 1999.