Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scott Sloan: Hands On Originals T-shirt company accused of discrimination

Hands On Originals T-shirt company accused of discrimination
by Scott Sloan
Lexington Herald-Leader

Popular Lexington T-shirt printer Hands On Originals has triggered a wave of criticism after telling organizers of Lexington's annual gay pride festival that it would not produce apparel for the event because Hands On is a Christian company.

On Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington, which organizes the June festival, filed a discrimination complaint with the city's Human Rights Commission.

"Hands On Originals does a lot of business in this town, and people should be aware of the situation, so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from them," said Aaron Baker, president of GLSO's board of directors.

Baker said the organization had gotten quotes from a number of Central Kentucky T-shirt companies, including Hands On Originals, and had selected it as the best local bid. The T-shirts for the fifth annual event were to include a stylized number 5 on the front along with "Lexington Pride Festival" and the event's sponsors on the back.

Baker said Hands On Originals co-owner Blaine Adamson told the GLSO in a follow-up call that the company was declining the order "because we're a Christian organization" but had found another company that would honor its price.

"It came as a shock because many of us are Christians, too, and what's that have to do with anything?" Baker said. He said a Pentecostal church meets weekly at GLSO's Pride Center.

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