Shirt Company Won’t Fold on Values
By Tony Perkins
T-shirt maker Blaine Adamson doesn’t exactly wear his heart on his sleeve, but he’s not about to ignore it either. When the Kentucky businessman was approached about printing rainbow shirts for Lexington’s gay pride festival two years ago, he had to turn the job down. As a Christian, he felt that using his shop to promote a message that contradicted his faith was a non-starter.
Unfortunately, Adamson has paid for his principles — dearly. In October, the city’s “special rights” ordinance — the same kind of measure that’s caused a firestorm in Houston, San Antonio, Fayetteville, and Springfield — came back to bite Hands On, which was found guilty of “discrimination” and sentenced to a year of “sensitivity training.” As far as Lexington’s Human Rights Commissioner was concerned, it’s time for Christians in the marketplace “to leave their religion at home.”
But that won’t happen without a fight. Late last week, Blaine announced that he’s appealing the decision. “No one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) argued. “Laws that do that are fundamentally unjust. We are appealing the commission’s decision because the First Amendment protects the freedom of every American to decline to speak on any issue without fear of punishment.”
When Adamson takes his battle to the next level, he’ll have some interesting allies by his side: openly gay couple (and fellow t-shirt company owners), Kathy Trautvetter and Diane DiGeloromo. “The idea is that when you own your own business, it’s your own art and creation — it’s very personal… it takes a long time to build a business,” Trautvetter explained. “When someone wants to force you to go against it — that’s what stuck me right in the heart. I really felt for Blaine.”
Americans should feel for every businessman who’s being muscled out of the market for holding views that an overwhelming number of people share. Fortunately the Constitution doesn’t guarantee rights on the basis of political correctness. So as long as we are a nation ruled by law the Adamsons have as much freedom to reject homosexuality as his customers do to endorse it.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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