Kentucky.com and The Blaze report that the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO), which organizes the city's annual gay pride festival on June 30th, solicited bids from area merchants to produce T-shirts for their next festival. Among the bidders was popular Lexington T-shirt printer Hands On Originals (HOO), owned by devout Christians. Because Hands On Originals submitted the best local bid, they were chosen. The T-shirts for the event were to include a stylized number 5 on the front along with "Lexington Pride Festival" and the event's sponsors on the back.
Then surprise, surprise. In a follow-up call, Hand On Originals told GLSO that they decided to decline their order, NOT because they were gay, but because promoting a gay pride message would conflict with their Christian beliefs. But recognizing that their decision might cause GLSO disappointment and inconvenience, Hands On Originals generously went out of their way to find another supplier who would honor the original contract -- AT NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO GLSO.
Now if GLSO had been interested in merely resolving the problem, they would have simply re-directed their T-shirt order to the other company and gone about their business. But GLSO saw an opportunity to get publicity -- and keep the gay rights cause at the forefront of public consciousness. So they filed a discrimination complaint against Hands On Originals with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission. Read the complaint HERE.
The Commission will send a letter to Hands On Originals requesting a written response, to be followed by a formal investigation into the company's business practices. If the parties don’t come to a settlement, the investigation could lead to compensatory damages being issued in GLSO’s favor, as there may be complications for the Hands On Originals in its fight, as it is a business and not a church or Christian group. Hands On Originals is subject to the law because it deals in goods and services to the public, and their explanation that they're a Christian organization would not exempt them, according to the Commission's Executive Director.
Perhaps one could be more sympathetic if this was the cause of a gay person being denied an apartment or a job simply because of sexual orientation. But these are T-shirts, for God's sake. Unlike housing and jobs, T-shirts are not a life-or-death issue. One can get T-shirts anywhere. GLSO are obviously a bunch of drama queens who are seeking to milk as much publicity as they can out of this, even though Hands On Originals will have to spend money defending themselves against the complaint. Of course, one might also ask why Hands On Originals bid for the job in the first place. Did they know GLSO was a gay organization? Did GLSO disguise themselves when they published their invitation to bid?
In addition to the complaint, a Facebook page has been created called “Boycott Hands On Originals.”
As of this post, there as 239 comments posted on The Blaze, overwhelmingly supportive of HOO, and 704 comments posted to Kentucky.com, many also supportive. Read some of them after the jump:
jake jones March 30th 01:29 A.M:
The difference between the 'GLSO' and the gay people I work with in Lexington is that the GLSO is extremely melodramatic and apparently one-dimensional with no interests other than being gay. Good luck with that.
tylera86 March 29th 08:55 PM:
I think this whole situation is completely overblown. Why does the GLSO care so much that someone told them no? They're still going to get their t-shirts at a reasonable price from a another vendor, who by the way was procured by HOO. Not agreeing with a particular lifestyle isn't the same as bigotry or hate. People just need to put there guns down and stop trying to ruin people for having their own principles. It seems as though the reaction in support of the GLSO won't be happy until everyone stops buying a shirt from HOO and the whole business folds, and that to me is the most tragic thing, that the GLSO will still have it's event and t-shirts, but a small business attached to real hopes and dreams may be severely punished.
crazybluecats March 29th 4:56 PM:
The group was NOT discriminated because they were gay. Hands on has a large number of gay clients (clubs, bars, organizations), they simply found it hypocritical and extremely against their personal values to print a shirt that promotes gay pride. Had the group wanted a t shirt that said something not pertaining to promoting gay pride, then Hands On would have graciously accepted their money just as any other business.
libertyandtyranny March 29th 4:45 PM:
Letter I wrote to Hands on Originals, commending them! To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing you to commend your business for refusing to sell T-shirts to a group of people who violate your sense of morality day in and day out- the gay pride parade.
I am a resident of the great state of Kalifornia, which has been over run by the left's bullies for the past quarter of a century. I am quite used to seeing businesses intimidated into silence when they are accused of "discrimination," even shut down.
But the left, while trying to ram their world view down our throats, forgets that this is a free country. That we have a right to freedom of association, we have a right to discriminate, that we have a right to freedom of conscience. Christian businesses and institutions have been ruthlessly under attack, especially the past few years.
I have noticed that the gay activists have started a website to harm your business, to intimidate people and brainwash them into thinking gay behavior is moral, which is on facebook, entitled "Boycott Hands On Originals."
You must take action. It is imperative. We must stand up to these bullies, or they will take over society.
Please create a facebook page that explains the actions you've taken. Please explain that if this were any other religious business, the left wouldn't say a word! For instance, if it were a Muslim t-shirt company (hard to imagine), then they would not only not be selling to homosexuals, but they would also condemn them to death if they could. The left doesn't realize how good they've got it!
Please explain WHY they violate your conscience. Please explain that you do not agree with selling to a group of people that has a parade in which grown men wear nothing but chaps and cowboy hats, displaying their pornography to young children.
As good Christians, WE MUST FIGHT BACK, or the left will take over. We must have better ad campaigns, better advertisers, that get our message out. The left will paint it as bigotry, but we must show that they are in fact the bigots, the ones who want to impose their world views and control people's behavior, and destroy Christian morality to force the outside world to mirror their inner turmoil.
I will voice my support by using the fruits of my labor, that was created by the hands that God gave me, to discriminate between right and wrong, to not bow down in the face of fear and political correctness, to stand up for the values our Christian ancestors and founding fathers fought and died for, by purchasing items from your store!