County Orders Christian Duplicator to Dub Gay Rights Film

Steve Javors
ARLINGTON, Va. — Citing Christian beliefs, a Virginia store owner has refused to duplicate two documentary films a lesbian activist made in the late 1960s.

After being contacted by Lilli Vincenz to dub her two movies titled “Gay and Proud” and “Second Largest Minority,” Tim Brando, who owns Bono Film and Video, refused, instead referring Vincenz to the Yellow Pages.

“Tim Bono was friendly, but when he found out the names and the titles of the films, he immediately did a 180-degree turnaround and said ‘I will not partake in the gay agenda,’” Vincenz said.

Bono declined Vincenz’s business on the grounds that his company won’t replicate materials he finds to be “obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company’s reputation or violates the company’s core values of Christian beliefs.”

According to Bono’s corporate website, his company won’t accept “pornography, sexually explicit material, content promoting violence or hate that runs counter to our Christian and ethical values.”

Vincenz filed a claim with the Arlington County Human Rights Commission under the county’s “nondiscrimination” ordinance that was amended to include sexual orientation.

The commission entered a decision in April ordering Bono to “provide the requested duplication service at the complainant’s expense or in the alternative to assist the complainant in locating a suitable facility where this service can be provided at the Bono Film and Video’s expense.”

Bono has subsequently filed suit against the commission, citing a statute called Dillon’s Law, which prohibits local government from enforcing nondiscrimination laws that are not authorized by the state. Discrimination against sexual orientation is not protected under civil rights laws in Virginia.

The suit also alleges that Bono’s freedom of speech and liberty to practice his religious beliefs have been impinged upon.

“Mr. Bono does not have to reproduce a customer’s hate speech, obscenity or pornography, nor may a customer hijack Mr. Bono’s business and force him to promote a homosexual agenda,” said Erik Stanley, Bono’s lawyer.

Stanley noted the lawsuit also would affect other local Virginia counties that have passed antidiscrimination laws in regard to sexual orientation.

“I bare him no ill-will,” Vincenz said of Bono. “I think he’s simply uneducated.”