And yes, Hands On Originals, the T-shirt shop that will be the focus of today’s discussion.
All of these businesses — in Washington state, Colorado and Kentucky — have been the subject of past GetReligion posts exploring media coverage of the intersection of sexual discrimination and religious freedom.
Often, the gay-rights side receives preferential coverage on this topic. News reports frequently focus on the “refusal of service” aspect as opposed to sincere claims of free speech and religion. But what about the Lexington Herald-Review story that we’ll critique today?
Does it reflect both sides? Does it treat everyone fairly? Does it make the clear the competing legal arguments?
Yes, yes and yes.
The lede explains the history:
More than seven years after a Lexington shop refused to make T-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments Friday about whether or not the company violated the city’s Fairness Ordinance.
Before the case began moving through the court system, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Right’s Commission accused the business of violating the ordinance that prohibits discrimination. In 2015, Fayette County Circuit Court Judge James Ishmael reversed the commission’s decision, saying there was no violation.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld Ishmael’s ruling in 2017 with a 2-1 vote.