Today, 10/31/19, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of Blaine Adamson of Hands on Originals stating that the plaintiffs lacked standing.
Adam Baker, a representative of GLSO, filed the original complaint
with the Commission on behalf of GLSO alleging Hands On had
discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of Section 2-
33. Baker admitted the he did not file the complaint in his individual
capacity or on his individual behalf. Because GLSO itself was the only
plaintiff to file a claim under Section 2-33 with the Commission and it
did not purport to name any individual on whose behalf it was bringing
the claim, GLSO lacked the requisite statutory standing.
Hands On argued first to the Hearing
Commissioner that GLSO, as an organization, did not have standing
under the ordinance to bring a claim. The Hearing Commissioner held
that GLSO did not lack standing under Section 2-33 but employed a
statutory analysis that we now reject.7 Hands On presented this
argument at all levels of review, including to this Court.8 Thus, the issue
of whether GLSO had statutory standing to bring the claim is properly
before this Court.
While this result is no doubt disappointing to many interested in
this case and its potential outcome, the fact that the wrong party filed
the complaint makes the discrimination analysis almost impossible to
conduct, including issues related to freedom of expression and religion.
The following is an interesting comment by Buckingham, J. in support of Hnads On Originals if this case had been argued based on the substance of the matter:
BUCKINGHAM, J. CONCURRING: I concur in the well-written majority
opinion, but I write separately to express my view that the facts of this case
disclose that the Lexington Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission
(“Commission”) went beyond its charge of preventing discrimination in public
accommodation and instead attempted to compel Hands On to engage in
expression with which it disagreed.