Yesterday, Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court of Kentucky telling the court what we have said many times before: Businesses cannot discriminate against customers using the guise of religious freedom.
In the case, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands On Originals, Inc., a Kentucky-based organization that advocates for gay and lesbian rights placed an order for T-shirts for its members to wear at a gay-pride event. The print shop, Hands On Originals, refused to fulfill the order because its owner does not support same-sex relationships.
When the local human rights commission found that the print shop had violated a local ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, Hands On appealed the decision, claiming that it had a religious freedom right to refuse to print T-shirts for the advocacy group. The case has now made its way all the way to the state’s highest court, and we hope that that court will agree with us that religious freedom is not a license to discriminate.
Religious freedom is about fairness. It’s simply not fair to refuse to serve someone because of who they are. That’s discrimination, plain and simple.
We made a similar argument before the U.S. Supreme Court last year in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, a bakery claimed a free speech right to discriminate when it refused to bake a cake for the wedding of Charlie Craig and David Mullins. AU filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that no one has a religious right to violate civil rights laws, and we joined the #OpenToAll rally in front of the Supreme Court on Dec. 5 as the justices heard arguments in the case. A decision is expected by the end of June.
AU will continue to fight attempts to use religion as an excuse to discriminate; learn more at our Protect Thy Neighbor campaign.