Here is more information concerning the video dupication service that was under fire from the local government for refusing to duplicate a homosexual video.
(AgapePress) - A lesbian activist has dropped her claim of discrimination against a Christian businessman in Virginia after he refused to make copies of videotapes of homosexual-rights marches for her. But legal advisors for the man say they will continue to pursue their case against the county where the complaint was originally filed, saying officials there violated state law by recognizing “sexual orientation” as a civil right.
One day after a suit was filed against the county’s Human Rights Commission, the Arlington County Commission rescinded its order requiring Tim Bono, of Bono Film and Video, to duplicate videos of homosexual-rights marches or pay someone else to do it. Bono sued the Arlington County government last week after its Human Rights Commission found him in violation of the county’s anti-discrimination laws, despite his contention that his refusal had nothing to do with the woman’s sexual orientation but with the content of the videos, which he found offensive to his Christian values. (See earlier article)
Bono’s suit, filed by Florida-based Liberty Counsel, challenges the constitutionality of the anti-discrimination law. Chief counsel Erik Stanley explains the grounds for the lawsuit.
“In Virginia, there is [a law] which basically says that counties and local governments are only empowered to pass ordinances that are expressly authorized by state law,” Stanley says. “State law does not authorize a county or a local government to pass a sexual orientation non-discrimination ordinance.”
Nevertheless, the county’s Human Rights Commission determined that Bono had discriminated against homosexual activist Lilli Vincenz, ordered him to duplicate the videos, and then distributed a press release to more than 5,000 media outlets, stating there was evidence Bono had engaged in discrimination. That latter step, says Liberty Counsel, “defamed” the Christian businessman as there is no basis for sexual orientation to be included in the county’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
“It’s amazing that it took a federal lawsuit to get the Arlington County Human Rights Commission to admit that they had violated [Mr. Bonos] religious freedom rights,” states Stanley. “But this ordinance is still on the books.”
And that is why Liberty Counsel has chosen not to drop Bono’s lawsuit. “[That ordinance] is still able to be applied against people of faith — Christians who own businesses, landlords, business owners; those types of individuals,” Stanley notes. “And we want to see that ordinance erased from the books once and for all.”
According to the Liberty Counsel attorney, the state of Virginia does not list sexual orientation as a protected civil right or class. That, he says, puts the anti-discrimination laws of several Virginia municipalities in violation of state law, and therefore, unenforceable.
Bono Film and Video has a written policy that it will not duplicate material that is obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company’s reputation, or runs counter to the company’s values. It was on those grounds that the business owner refused Vincenz’s request to copy the videotapes, one called “Gay and Proud” and the other “Second Largest Minority.”