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Bevin Files Brief in Support of Company that Refused to Print Gay Pride Shirts

Gov. Matt Bevin submitted an amicus brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court in the case of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands-On Originals.

In 2012, Hands-On Originals, an apparel printing company, refused to print T-shirts for Lexington's gay pride festival.

The human rights commission determined that that was a violation of local law, but a state court and court of appeals disagreed.

The case is now at the state supreme court.

Gov. Bevin’s amicus brief supports Hands-On Originals, a small t-shirt printing business in Lexington. 

The brief argues in support of Hands-On, stating that, from its earliest days, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been a haven for those seeking to live out their religious beliefs.  Bevin says that many of Kentucky’s earliest settlers came to Kentucky in search of religious freedom. The brief also argues that the drafters of Kentucky’s Constitution specifically rejected any limitation of freedom of conscience and that requiring Hands-On’s owners to print t-shirts "promoting homosexuality" violates the freedom-of-conscience guarantees enshrined in the Commonwealth’s constitution.

“For over two centuries, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has protected its citizens’ right to act according to their conscience,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel. “This important case, which has attracted national attention, tests whether Kentucky’s history of safeguarding freedom of conscience will continue or be curtailed.  Requiring Hands-On’s owners to engage in speech with which they disagree is a violation of their freedom of conscience, and we are hopeful that the Kentucky Supreme Court will reaffirm this bedrock of Kentucky’s constitutional charter.”

Many other parties joined the Commonwealth in submitting amicus briefs in support of Hands-On Originals, including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Jews for Religious Liberty, the Cato Institute, CatholicVote.org, and the American Center for Law and Justice.

A copy of Gov. Bevin’s amicus brief can be found here.

-Staff report