Byron Babione


Imagine a T-shirt print shop run by owners who openly practice homosexual behavior. Let’s call it “Tolerance 101.” They make T-shirts for community events, annual “gay pride” rallies, and sports teams around their city. Now, imagine that a major Christian ministry contacts the company to have them make T-shirts that will be worn at an event supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Tolerance 101 declines to the make the shirts. In short, the managing owner exercises his prerogative as a business owner to refuse to communicate a message in genuine conflict with his beliefs. Tolerance 101 does business all the time with heterosexuals and even has heterosexual employees, so it’s not about discrimination against any person. It’s simply about not wanting to further a message the owners so deeply oppose.  Tolerance 101 even goes the extra mile and finds another T-shirt shop willing to do the job at the same price.

This scenario never happened, but if it did, it’s almost certain that the Christian ministry would not be traipsing off to the local human rights commission to file a discrimination complaint. But turn the tables and see what happens.

A company called Hands On Originals decided to not make T-shirts for an upcoming “gay pride” event in Lexington, Kentucky. As a result of Hands On Originals’ decision, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington has filed a complaint with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission and is pushing what many would consider an all-out smear campaign against the T-shirt company for exercising a prerogative it would almost certainly want to reserve for itself.

This has caused the dominoes to start tipping one against the next, and an investigation has been launched into Hands On Originals because of its decision. And this investigation will certainly require the involvement of managing owner Blaine Adamson and others.

For example, Raymond Sexton, the executive director of the Human Rights Commission told Fox News that Hands On Originals will be “required by law to participate in the investigation.” Added Sexton: “We have subpoena power and have the backing of the law,” he said. “We are a law enforcement agency and people have to comply.”

Byron Babione

Byron Babione is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that has defended marriage and religious liberty in courts throughout the U.S.