Christian T-Shirt company in Kentucky told its refusal to print gay pride T-shirts constituted 'unlawful discrimination'

(Photo: Hands on Originals)

A Christian-owned T-shirt company that refused an order because the intended message on the shirt would promote a gay pride event has been told that its actions were discriminatory.

The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington turned to Hands On Originals T-shirt company to print its shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival in 2012.

But last week, administrative law judge Greg Munson said Hands On Originals' refusal to take the order "constitutes unlawful discrimination".

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which defended Hands On Originals in the case, said the ruling would result in printers having to take orders from groups like the Westboro Baptist Church or those with messages they disagreed with.

ADF senior legal counsel Jim Campbell said company owner Blaine Adamson did not turn down the order because of any characteristic of the people who placed it but "because of the message that the shirts would communicate".

"No one should be forced by the government - or by another citizen - to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree," said Campbell.

Issuing its verdict last week, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission said: "The evidence of record shows that the respondent discriminated against GLSO because of its members' actual or imputed sexual orientation by refusing to print and sell to them the official shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival."

The Blaze reports that the ruling will not officially stand until it is adopted or modified by the full Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission. 

Campbell told the publication they were "very likely to appeal" the ruling.

The website reports that the initial ruling still means that Hands On Originals will not be able to discriminate against individuals because of gender identity or sexuality, and if they are approached again by the GLSO of Lexington with a similar order, they will have little choice but to print it.