Christian printer who refused gay pride shirt order files appeal

(Photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

The Christian printer who was found guilty of discrimination for refusing to produce gay pride t-shirts is appealing the decision.

Hands on Originals owner Blaine Adamson retained the conservative Christian organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to fight the case.

In 2012, Adamson was asked to produce the shirts for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organisation of Lexington, Kentucky, but declined the order because he felt it conflicted with his religious beliefs.

The LGBT advocacy organisation filed a complaint against Adamson with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, and the business owner was found guilty of discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in October 2014.

An unspecified number Hands on Originals employees were ordered to undergo diversity training in the next 12 months, and Adamson was told to stop refusing LGBT t-shirt orders.

ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell told The Blaze that the commission's mandates were not to "discriminate against individuals because of gender identity or sexuality," and "if someone else from [Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington] comes to you for the pride festival, you have to [print again in the future if asked]."

Adamson's appeal denies that he discriminated against LGBT persons, insisting instead that he disagreed with the message on the shirts.

"No one should be forced by the government to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree," Campbell said in a statement. "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."

LGBT couple and t-shirt company owners Kathy Trautvetter and Diane DiGeloromo have spoken out in support of Adamson's right to refuse the delivery of services as he chooses.

"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."