Arlington, Va. forces Christian to duplicate gay videos

Christian businessman ordered to duplicate gay video sues
He claims it violates Christian values
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) A Christian businessman in Arlington is suing officials who ordered him to reproduce gay-themed videos or pay someone else to do it.

Tim Bono, owner of Bono Film and Video has a company policy: he won’t duplicate material that’s obscene or violates his Christian and ethical values. So he turned down a woman who wanted him to duplicate films titled “Gay and Proud” and “Second Largest Minority.”

She complained to Arlington County’s Human Rights Commission, which told him that his refusal violated the county’s ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Bono’s lawsuit says his constitutional rights are being violated, and that state law doesn’t permit counties to add sexual orientation to anti-discrimination statutes.

Updated: June 23, 2008 — 12:22 pm

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  1. Peach, I have, as the Bible would say, pondered this case in my heart, and as only the vilest sort of lawyer would do, have decided it on a technicality. The ordinance says that a business can’t discriminate against a PERSON. It doesn’t say you can’t refuse to copy something you find offensive. For example, if someone brought in a KKK video, no one would say that a black-owned copy shop would have to copy it.

    I suspect that if a gay man or lesbian brought in a home movie to copy, that had nothing to do with gay or lesbian issues, this guy would be happy to take their money. I also suspect that if a straight man brought in a gay video to copy, he’d refuse to copy it as well. That shows that he’s not refusing to do business with gays or lesbians, only to make copies of things he doesn’t like. Deep down, I think you’ve got a right to do that. Plus, I’m not sure that the ordinance they cite gives a person a “private right of action,” that is, the right to file a lawsuit to enforce it. Many ordinances and statutes prohibit certain conduct, but don’t give a person the right to bring a lawsuit enforcing it.

    So, on this one, even though I’m philosophically against the kind of homophobia exhibited by this guy, I tend to think a business has some control over the substance of what it does.

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