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US: Human Rights Commission backs pride organisers over t-shirt printing refusal

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  1. Only religious organizations can claim religious freedom to refuse inclusion/service. For profit companies do not have the same option. Fair accommodation laws require that all customers be treated equally.

  2. If the t-shirt business cannot stand the heat, they should get out of the kitchen, or in this case the T-shirt printing business.

    1. I disagree. I own and operate a gay & lesbian t-shirt company and I support the right of OHO to print (or not) anything that goes against their beliefs. I do believe that they did submit a quote for the job which put them in the running. Maybe some prior research would have been prudent. Regardless, any company has a right to refuse a customer.

      1. Amazing reaction … from someone gay. So, if you were a racist and a black person wanted a ‘Black Pride’ T Shirt printing, you’d feel within your rights to refuse the order? Or would you just refuse by making some other excuse …(too busy)?

  3. Hope the T-shirts were pure cotton and not mixed fibres!

  4. spiritbody 27 Nov 2012, 8:56am

    This is the kind of story that comes up quite abit, and I always get lots of ‘bad comment’ votes, because I always have to put the right to feel free to live in accordence with your morality, above anything else. I value living in a country where you can say “No, Im not gonna do that cos it goes against my rights and wrongs”. Thats so important for a healthy happier society. I know there’ll always be less than desirable outcomes (Like this for example), but its still worth it. This doesnt sound like a multi national company (I think possibly different rules may have to apply to them) but a smaller independant company should have the right to say no to something that they feel would go against their beleifs. If I owned a t-shirt printing company and a guy walked in wanting 1000 anti gay t-shirts, damn right Id say no!

    1. Tim Hopkins 27 Nov 2012, 9:08am

      I think you’re not comparing like with like. It would probably be lawful if this guy had turned down printing T shirts with anti-heterosexual slogans. Pride slogans are a different matter – they’re not anti-anyone. Certainly in the UK it would breach equality law to turn down printing T shirts just because they were for a gay event. But it would not breach the law to turn down printing T shirts with slogans that opposed rights for a section of the population, eg LGBT people, so long as you would equally turn down printing T shirts with slogans that opposed rights for non-LGBT people.

      That of course is the difference between us and our opponents. We support equal rights for all including cisgender heterosexual people. Our opponents want rights for themselves, but want to deny them to us because we’re LGBT.

      1. Suppose this was a ‘People of Colour’ pride event and, because of ‘religious belief’, the shop owner refused to print the shirts (because, of course, the bible also condones slavery). Would you STILL defend their right to discriminate? If a shop is charging money for a PUBLIC service (they can claim to cater exclusively for whom the hell they want) I believe it is discrimination to pick and choose which customers you will serve and which you won’t.

    2. “This doesnt sound like a multi national company (I think possibly different rules may have to apply to them)”
      Where exactly would you draw the line? How few employees or outlets would qualify your smaller companies to be able to discriminate.
      Using your augments, the Land Of The Free you are so proud of would allow companies to discriminate against ethnic groups or disabled people if they so chose. What’s so good about that?
      The Law is there to protect society from people who wish to live “in accordance with [their] morality”

      1. Spiritbody 27 Nov 2012, 3:51pm

        Well first of all, I think its really easy to distinguish a multi national from a small independent. When a business becomes such a huge part of consumer society and becomes corporate, their customer base is so large, that I think they should loose the right to say “Yes we will serve you, but no we will not serve you”. And discrimination laws are there to protect people when that happens. A small independently run business, which the livelihood of an individual or family, I think should retain the right to refuse service. I dont AGREE with refusing service on such ridiculous grounds, be they homophobic or racist or sexist or whatever, but its their livelihood. They need to be free to run it how they see fit.

        1. That is not how it works. In 1960s London one could advertise a room for rent saying “No Blacks. No Irish”. Perhaps you would like to see this practice return. Or what about a small family run hotel that allows Jews to stay but not to use the pool. How about separate lavatories in a cafe for “Colourds”?
          It’s a free country!

    3. BMP T-Shirts 28 Nov 2012, 10:59am

      Hey SpiritBody! I totally agree with you! We do own a gay t-shirt company and we wouldn’t print ANYTHING anti-gay, racial or anything! My company and the community we serve is very personal to us. We could NEVER go against that for any reason.
      Diane & Kathy
      BMP T-Shirts

  5. Mumbo Jumbo 27 Nov 2012, 9:19am

    “Americans in the marketplace should not be subject to legal attacks simply for abiding by their beliefs,”

    No. Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to religious tests by the provider of a service.

  6. “Due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”

    Presumably promotion of local fast food outlets are also affected because of the gluttony bit in the bible.

    It’s all in Genesis chapter 12 verse nine, the section on T shirt printing and how it is open to influence by the devil.

    1. And there was much wailing as of women and a great wringing of hands all about them; and did Ezrah say unto Saul “Seriously Saul, you can NOT wear that shirt with those sandals”. Saul did he reflect upon his Choices and ponder him the unnatural use of his garments that had been wrought with sinful hues and emblems. But his heart was closed to his friend and in his sin did he fail him in his Choice. And so in great sadness Ezrah did abjure him and commend him to the care of Satan in the form of a lowly female dog for all eternity. “Well to hell with you bitch!”

  7. You want a business license, you have to do business w/ EVERYBODY who can pay. Period. [Seriously, these “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to…” disclaimers were legally barred by the Civil Rights Act of 1964]

  8. casparthegood 27 Nov 2012, 10:47am

    My gut reaction in this case is why couldn’t they source the stuff from a gay or known gay friendly firm and support our own community. I’m sure there are plenty who would have snapped up the business. If we can’t be seen to support our own then why should anyone else bother?

    1. Good point. I do my best to use suppliers that have a good equality record and weed out any that are religious or anti-equality. Some small businesses put that stupid fish symbol in their advertisements – so they are easy to avoid.

    2. That is a very good point.

    3. No. Not a good point. For social or economic reasons. Socially it is a bad idea firstly to allow businesses to discriminate against us and secondly to further segregate ourselves by seeking out gay/gay friendly businesses. Economically by restricting ourselves to only a section of the market we are drastically reducing supply and increasing demand, meaning that those suppliers can charge more, so we end up paying more – all so that we don’t have to stand up for ourselves and demand that we be treated the same. The route to equality is through inclusion and by calling out anyone who tries to deny it to us.

    4. No, it’s not a good point. I’m not suggesting they deliberately targeted a Christian business but this might simply have been the most convenient or competitively priced one. If people want to give their custom to Gay-friendly businesses (as I do) that’s fine but if they want to choose from the full scope of what is available they must have protection against this kind of insulting prejudice.

      1. Great minds think alike!

        1. I think their reasons for going to this particular shop are totally irrelevant. The fact that their order was refused is the point. Businesses must not be allowed to discriminate. I’m sure it happens all the time – surreptitiously. Laws, in themselves, cannot change bigoted minds. However, laws introduced to protect people from discrimination will eventually have a positive effect on the mind of the mindless.

  9. I’m beginning to feel sorry for any genuine and/or benevolent Christians in the USA, because this sort of intellectually-challenged person who seriously believes there are “Christian principles” to be applied when it comes to printing t-shirts is really, really giving them a bad name.

  10. I have spent a fair bit of time in Lexington as my inlaws live there. Lots of big new churches. Lots of big Christians. Last time I was there someone muttered “faggots” as my partner and I walked through the car park of Lexington Mall. Nice.

    1. From which it can be gleaned that they truly believe in Christian virtues. Oh yes, sirree.

  11. This is just bigotry trying to be covered with a religious fig leaf. After all no where in the bible does it say its a sin or wrong to deny commercial services to people you consider to be a sinner so providing such services to people you consider sinners isn’t against any religious belief. Besides which in the bible it says all people are sinners so why single out some considered sinners over everyone else who is also a sinner?

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