If I still lived in Arlington, Virginia, I would never go to Bono Film and Video to duplicate any personal video recordings I had. Indeed, I would encourage my friends to avoid this business. Tim Bono, the owner of the firm, has a policy not to “duplicate material that’s obscene or violates his Christian and ethical values.“
Recently, when a woman came in and asked him to duplicate her films “Gay and Proud” and “Second Largest Minority,” he refused, given their gay content. Upset, 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.” Now, he’s suing, claiming “his constitutional rights are being violated.“
I agree with him. I don’t happen to like the way he exercises his freedom, but it’s his business and he should be free to run it as he pleases — and duplicate whatever tapes he likes. Or refuse to duplicate those he doesn’t. Personally, I don’t think it makes good business sense to refuse to duplicate such tapes as it would mean turning away clients. But, like I said, it’s his business, not mine. Just as he should be free to choose his clients, we should be free not to patronize his business.
Just as Mr. Bono should be free not to duplicate gay-themed videos, another individual would similarly be free to set up a Film and Video Company which refused to duplicate Christian-themed videos. Would the Arlington Human Rights Commission have paid attention to a Christian complaining that a gay owner of such a company refused to duplicate tapes promoting the ex-gay movement?
The issue here is freedom. It’s too bad that some who believe gay people should be free to live our lives as we choose wish to deprive others of the freedom to live their lives in a manner which we might find offensive.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: Thanks for Raj, who in the first comment alerted me that the Independent Gay Forum covered this story last month. It appears that the Competitive Enterprise institute Blog broke this story on April 28. Calling this Liberal Authoritarianism, the Independent Gay Forum’s Stephen H. Miller writes:
As gay people, we often protest against what some see as manifestations of creeping,Taliban-like theocracy from the right. But in the case of Tim Bono, just who is insisting on imposing their values on everyone?
In short, it is not in our own long-term interests, which are grounded in liberty and respect for individual autonomy, to use the state to force others to reproduce content of which they disapprove.