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Kentucky Court of Appeals sides with Hands On Originals in gay rights dispute over tee shirts

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT – Hands On Originals, a Lexington tee shirt company, has won another round in the ongoing legal dispute over whether it violated Lexington’s fairness ordinance by refusing to print shirts for a gay rights group.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court ruling that Hands On Originals didn’t violate the Lexington ordinance when it refused to print T-shirts for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.

The appeals court ruling held that Hands On Originals was within its free speech rights to decline to print the tee shirts.

The closely watched legal dispute began in 2012 when Hands On Originals, citing religious beliefs, declined the gay rights group’s tee shirt order.

The nonprofit group Alliance Defending Freedom has been representing Hands On Originals.

Jim Campbell, senior legal counsel for the alliance, has said government “can’t force citizens to surrender free-speech rights or religious freedom in order to run a small business.”

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