The ruling by County Circuit Judge James Ishmael overturned a 2014 decision by Fayette’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) that Hands On Originals violated a city law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
He argued that Hands On Originals' refusal to print GLSO’s 2012 pride festival t-shirts was not based on the sexual orientation of the group’s members but on "the message advocating sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman."
He added that the owners of Hands On Originals have in the past turned down orders for shirts promoting strip clubs and containing violent messages.
Jim Campbell, a lawyer from anti-gay Christian litigation group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), said:
"The government can't force citizens to surrender free-speech rights or religious freedom in order to run a small business, and this decision affirms that.”
GLSO President Christopher Bauer said in a statement:
"We feel that this is just a reminder that there are still many out there who feel that their citizenship is worth more than that of members of the [LGBT] community.”
GLSO and the HRC are considering an appeal of the ruling.
Watch an ADF interview with Hands On Originals owner Dewayne Adamson, AFTER THE JUMP...