Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Human Rights Commission Dismisses Complaint Against Christian Businessman After Liberty Counsel Files Suit

Just one day after Liberty Counsel filed suit in Arlington Circuit Court on behalf of Tim Bono and his company against Arlington County Human Rights Commission, the Commission dismissed the complaint filed by lesbian activist Lilli M. Vincenz, stating there was no valid claim of discrimination against Mr. Bono.

Ms. Vincenz filed a complaint with the Commission under the county's nondiscrimination ordinance, when Bono Film and Video refused to copy Gay and Proud and Second Largest Minority for Ms. Vincenz due to its content. Mr. Bono's company does not duplicate material that is obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company's reputation or that runs counter to his company's values. The Commission directed Mr. Bono to duplicate the objectionable videos or pay for the duplication at another facility. The Commission also defamed Mr. Bono by sending a press release to over 5,000 media outlets, stating that there was evidence Mr. Bono had engaged in discrimination. Liberty Counsel filed suit to stop the Commission from taking further action against Mr. Bono.

Liberty Counsel will proceed with the suit that challenges the Commission's authority to recognize "sexual orientation" as a civil right. Virginia law prohibits local government from passing or enforcing nondiscrimination laws that are not authorized by the state. The state does not list "sexual orientation" as a protected civil right or class. Liberty Counsel's suit will affect Arlington County and several other Virginia counties that have illegally passed "sexual orientation" antidiscrimination laws. Several years ago, the Virginia Attorney General issued an opinion concluding that local "sexual orientation" laws violate state law.

Although we are pleased the Commission dismissed the frivolous complaint against Mr. Bono, we will continue to challenge Arlington County's attempt to recognize so-called "sexual orientation" as a civil right. Liberty Counsel's suit will invalidate the county ordinance and other similar ordinances throughout Virginia.