Christian Business Ordered to Duplicate Homosexual Activist Videos 4/25/2006
Virginia duplicator refused the job, citing Biblical grounds.
In a case similar to a Canadian Christian printer’s punishment for declining a job for a homosexual activist group, an Arlington, Virginia, video duplicator has been ordered by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission to do a job for a lesbian activist.
The April 18 order follows a March 9 hearing in which Tim Bono of Bono Film and Video cited constitutional freedom of religion protection in refusing to duplicate two pro-homosexual films for lesbian activist Lillian Vincenz, according to the Family Policy Network (FPN), which is seeking clients for a class-action suit against the county.
Bono, a Christian, said he did not want to violate his Biblical values by assisting the promotion of homosexual behavior. Bono Film & Video informs potential customers that the firm does not duplicate material that the firm deems obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company’s reputation, or that runs counter to the company's Christian and ethical values, Bono told FPN.
After Bono rebuffed her request, Vincenz asked Arlington County officials to force Bono to duplicate her videos. The Arlington Human Rights Commission began an investigation and held a public hearing on March 9 to discuss the alleged discrimination.
As of April 25, neither Bono nor Vincenz had responded to the commission’s order, Raul Torres, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, told Concerned Women for America’s Culture & Family Institute (CFI).
If Bono refuses to do the job, “after a reasonable amount of time, the commission can reassemble and discuss why the remedy was not done,” Torres said. The commission could then forward the case to the full county Board of Commissioners and ask them for permission to file a discrimination complaint in Arlington Circuit Court, he said.
The decision found that:
- “Bono Film and Video is a public accommodation as defined by the Arlington County Code.”
- Bono “refused to duplicate two documentaries submitted by the Complainant, entitled: Gay and Proud and Second Largest Minority.”
- Bono “did not review the content of the documentaries.”
- Bono “perceived the Complainant to be ‘gay’ and to have a gay agenda when he communicated to her that Bono Film and Video ‘do[es] not partake in any gay agenda no matter what the content.’”
- “Chapter 31 [of Arlington County Code] prohibits discrimination by a public accommodation in the provisions of services on the basis of sexual orientation or perception thereof.”
The Arlington case is reminiscent of an Ontario human rights panel’s fining of a Christian printer, Scott Brockie, for his refusal to print materials for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
In February 2000, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Brockie had violated the ban on “sexual orientation” discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code. He was ordered to pay $5,000 in damages to the president of the Archives and to “henceforth print materials for any homosexual individual or group on the same basis as all other clients.”
Brockie, citing his Christian faith and Canada’s guarantee of religious freedom, appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court, but lost in June 2002. By this time, he had already amassed nearly $100,000 in legal fees and decided against further appeal. But the nightmare was not over. The Ontario Human Rights Commission filed an order with the Ontario Court of Appeal demanding that Brockie pay its legal costs. The commission won, leaving Brockie with an additional legal bill of $40,000. The “Scott Brockie Defense Fund” has been established, and donations can be mailed to: Account #507-721-9, Royal Bank Branch # 3132, 33 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, L5B 2N5.
FPN President Joe Glover told CFI that he is looking for Arlington business people who would be willing to act as anonymous plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Arlington County.
“The county's involvement in this anti-Christian, pro-homosexual witch-hunt isn't just a crime against one businessman; it's a heavy-handed threat to turn the government against Christians who want to live their lives according to Scripture,” Glover said in a press release. “Even if they can't win a case like this on the merits, they're out to strike fear in the hearts of Christians who want to live according to their faith.”
For an overview of the concept of “sexual orientation” and how it is leading to cases like those of Mssrs. Brockie and Bono, see Robert Knight’s CFI Special Report Sexual Orientation and American Culture.
Robert Knight is director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America.