A Kentucky businessman is facing the wrath of a pro-homosexual group after rejecting a business transaction because of his Christian beliefs.
On Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization filed a discrimination complaint before Lexington's Human Rights Commission against a T-shirt printer after the company refused to honor a bid to produce apparel for an event. Kent Ostrander of the Family Foundation of Kentucky is familiar with the allegations against the owners of Hands On Originals, which makes and sells custom T-shirts and other items.
"And what we have is a 'gay pride' parade -- which is basically a public statement, a policy statement of we're here and we're queer and we have to be recognized -- and this is a Christian owner of a business that does not want to have a part in that statement in the community," he explains.
The company released to the Lexington Herald-Leader the following statement from owner Blaine Adamson: "Hands On Originals both employs and conducts business with people of all genders, race, religions, sexual preferences and national origins. However, due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership."
Ostrander stresses one aspect of the Christian walk is to be fair. "When [the owner of Hands On Originals] realized what was going on, he got another company to print the T-shirts at the same price," says the family advocate. "So he very kindly dealt with the gay community, and now they're threatening boycott and things like that."
The Family Foundation spokesman suggests how the Christian community should react. "Well, we have to be understanding but we need to be firm," he offers, "and we need to rally behind the owner and stand with him and his religious free exercise of his convictions."
Otherwise, he says, the battle could be very costly to Hands On Originals in lost business and in defending itself before the Human Rights Commission, which has said it will investigate the complaint. The executive director of the Commission said the company is subject to Lexington's human rights ordinance because it deals in good and services to the public.