Suing the Thought Police

The Washington Times (‘Firm sues county over order to copy gay films’ Sat. June 10, 2006) reports an Arlington businessman is suing country officials who ‘ordered’ him to reproduce homosexual-themed videos.

Mr. Tim Bono has a core values web page for his business that states – “No content should embarass our empolyeses or tarnish our reputation. No pornography. No sexually explicit material. No content promoting violence or hate that runs counter to our Christian and ethical values. We will not debate the merits of your material if it crosses our line.” (

On April 13, 2006 the Arlington Human Rights Commission upheld a complaint and ordered Mr. Bono to duplicate the films at the Miss Vincent’s (the accuser) expense or pay for another company to provide the service. Miss Vincent said Mr. Bono’s father had previously copied the same videos without objection.

The Liberty Counsel pro-bono attorney said the county doesn’t have the authority to investigate claims about sexual orientation based on the Dillon Rule. The Commonwealth doesn’t recognize discrimination based on sexual orientation, so the County can’t either.

This will be interesting. Mr. Bono didn’t discriminate against Miss Vincent because he didn’t know her sexual orientation. How could he know? He didn’t discriminate even if he knew and cared about her sexual behavior preferences, because homosexuals are not a ‘protected class of persons’ in the Virginia code. Or maybe the Virginia legal language just addresses individual rights not being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin or gender. I don’t know the specifics.

I look forward to the Thought Police losing in court. Mr. Bono’s professional standards for his private business are straightforward. He shouldn’t be required to violate his ethical principles. Miss Vincent can have her films reproduced elsewhere in this free Country and Commonwealth. Mr. Bono should have a chat with his father about their standards.

What is the legal authority of Commissions in the Commonwealth to decide due process, find guilt and make punishments? Any word from our loyal lawyers?

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10 responses to “Suing the Thought Police”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I don’t know what to think, and if I did, I’d probably be afraid to.

  2. Charles Avatar

    He didn’t discriminate against the person, he discriminated against the material. Any person submitting that material would have had it rejected.

    Conversely, she could have submitted non-offensive material and it would have been processed without regard to her personal characteristics.

    When blacks were discriminated against in the 60s, it wasn’t because they ordered the wrong food, it’s because of WHO THEY WERE.

    This type of “co-opting” the label of discrimination does a disservice to all those who are truly discriminated against for who they are, rather than for what they do.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    It’s slippery slope we start down when we allow companies that server “the public” to decide whom they will serve. If you decide to do business for the general public that means all. If this was offensive under the conventional terms outlined in law then yes, by all means do not provide your service. No one will develope film that shows nude pics of people but this is not the same. This is a public gathering that is allowed by law and I feel the shop owner is not entitled to say whom he will serve and whom he will not.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: So you are against, “no shirt,no shoes, no service?”

    You may feel anything you like, but having a legal,moral, ethical principle would make a better position for public law.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Anon 3:30PM

    Private business has always been able to choose who they do business with “at will.” Otherwise, you’re describing a public business. That doesn’t mean I can discriminate who I hire and how I treat them but I sure as heck can discriminate on who I do business with.

    We do it all the time. If you can’t pay my for my services, you don’t get them. I’ve walked away from potential client’s because of a suspicion based on the way they run their businesses that they can’t pay for our services. I just refused to contract with them. They are free to go somewhere else.

    I also have the right to ethicially conduct my business. After all, the person asking me to copy what I construe as offensive materials can easily go somewhere else to get that done.

    They aren’t going to shave my face in the morning or pay my bills. That one client could and probably would cause damage to my entire business.

    The private business owner has every right and responsbility to make the decisions to protect his business. I would do the same. I’m glad to see this business owner (Mr. Bono) sue the county for it’s intrusion. Go get them champ!

  6. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    This isn’t a case of discrimination.

    It is a case of Mr. Bono defining what his business is. Making the lab process certain non-covered articles is the same as making a Hardees(tm) serve lobster-tail with caviar.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    If you actually read the story, you will find the materials in question were described as documentaries about gays. From that description and the specific wording on Mr Bono’s website, it doesn’t appear that the material actually conflicted with his stated values. In fact, I suspect that is where the case willwind up focusing if it actually makes it to court.

    “No content should embarass our empolyeses or tarnish our reputation. No pornography. No sexually explicit material. No content promoting violence or hate that runs counter to our Christian and ethical values. We will not debate the merits of your material if it crosses our line.”

    If a documentary tarnishes their reputation, or causes embarassment to employees, it seems there are larger issues at work. After all, there is no indication whatsoever that there is any lewd or salacious material in the movies at all, only a presumption on the part of the business.

    If that’s good enough for you, fine. But then get off your high horses about Google and try to be consistent.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    This one is a bit tricky ….

    but it would seem that private businesses are free to determine what they will sell and what they won’t sell – as long as they treat all customers the same… in those regards.

    For instance, if it allows only white folks to buy a certain good or service THEN you have discrimination.

    So.. seems to me.. if a business will not accept certain kinds of media for processing… that’s fine.. as long as that policy is consistent for all customers….

    For instance… a business might say that they won’t accept kids birthday parties for processing… and as long as that was their policy irregardless of customers then so be it. Now, if some prospective customers don’t like such policies then they are free to not trade with that business.

    or if a pest control company decided that it will get rid of termites but not cockroaches… even though someone might see some sort of descrimination in terms of what kinds of folks have termites verses what kinds of folks have cockroaches… I don’t think the Pest Control company should be told by others what their business should be.

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    and yes.. ditto for GOOGLE… goose .. gander, et al

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    What’s that? James misrepresented the facts of the case in order to inflame his hysteria? Noooooo! Impossible!!!!!!

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