Posts tagged Hands On Originals
This is an article that you might want to read if you have been following the recent developments of House Bill 279.
Paul Brown commented on the development.
As we finish Thanksgiving and move toward Christmas (or whatever you may choose to celebrate), we realize there is much to be thankful about this holiday season. Queer communities enjoyed some major victories in the recent elections. Three states voted for gay marriage, and one voted not to create a Prop 8-type legislation. Gay officials were elected to office in several places including Tammy Baldwin who will serve as the US Senate’s first openly gay senator. In Lexington, we have enjoyed a massive victory as well. The Human Rights Commission ruled that Hands On Originals (HOO) is guilty of discrimination by refusing to print the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival t-shirts.
To recap, the Lexington Pride Festival Committee gathered quotes last year to have their t-shirts printed. HOO provided the best quote for the needs of the committee. When the committee contacted HOO to accept the quote, HOO refused to do the work under the grounds that they were a Christian organization.
The Lexington Pride Festival is a committee of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO). The committee reported HOO’s refusal to the board, which decided to pursue a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC). The board was able to do this under Lexington’s Fairness Ordinance. The Fairness Ordinance states that a company that provides general services cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The GLSO argued that printing t-shirts is a general service; therefore, HOO cannot discriminate against GLSO by refusing to print t-shirts on Christian grounds after providing a quote.
The story went viral, was in the newspaper for several days, made TV media, spawned two Facebook groups, and saw a protest demonstration take place. The HRC began working immediately and gathered mountains of research. HOO asked for mediation, and representatives of GLSO met with them at the HRC. Mediation failed, and the HRC kept the investigation going.
After months of diligent research and investigating, the HRC finally produced a verdict against HOO. The GLSO was elated, and is proud to operate in Lexington. GLSO president Aaron Baker said, “We didn’t win any money – we won what we were looking for all along – a declaration that HOO acted wrongly and an order not to do it again.” This situation demonstrates that gay people do not have to put up with discrimination. They are valuable members of our society, and Lexington knows it. Perhaps the best holiday gift of all is knowing that we can stand up for our rights and win.
Click here for the official judgment from HRC
Since posting the information about Hands On Originals, the GLSO has received a lot of attention. The board members of the GLSO have been listening. The board has decided to file a discrimination complaint with the HRC. The board does not wish to engage in nor does it condone name-calling, bad-mouthing, or threatening businesses. The board has two simple goals in this situation: 1) educating the community and 2) refusing to tolerate discrimination.
The board has already begun educating the community by posting this situation to its websites. It will continue to educate throughout the process of the complaint.
As for the second goal, the board does not agree with discrimination in any manner and will not tolerate discrimination. Lexington has had a Fairness Ordinance for 13 years because the citizens of Lexington voted against discrimination. The GLSO believes in the Fairness Ordinance and refuses to let discrimination go unaddressed. As a result, board president Aaron Baker filed the complaint today.
As part of our commitment to transparency, we have included the text of our complaint below:
“The Pride Festival committee of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) received a quote from Hands On Originals in December by phone (from an employee named Kaleb) to produce t-shirts for the 5th annual Pride Festival in Lexington. The quote from Hands On Originals was the lowest bid from a local company, and the committee intended to move forward with having them produce shirts. However, a committee member first called the business with the intention of finding out whether any lower price could be negotiated. He reached someone there who asked who he had previously talked to. At that moment, he could not remember their name, and when the name “Blaine” was suggested, he agreed. Numerous phone messages back and forth were exchanged before the committee member was finally able to speak with Blaine, who represented himself as an owner of Hands On Originals. His inquiries were related to what the GLSO was, what our mission was, and what we were promoting. The committee member explained, including that the t-shirt would only contain a stylized number “5″ on the front and the name of the festival, and sponsors on the rear. When Blaine learned that it was a gay pride festival, he asked, “You know we’re a Christian organization, don’t you?” He then continued on to say that Hands On Originals would not print shirts related to a gay pride festival. He suggested that he could refer us to a different business who would print the shirts. Our committee member told them he would take that offer to the board, but that he felt that we would not want to do business with anyone who did business with Hands On Originals, based on their discrimination. On March 25th, the GLSO board met in emergency session and agreed to file a complaint with the HRC under the Lexington Fairness Ordinance.”
Stay tuned to the GLSO and Pride Festival websites for more information. Thank you for all the community support.