A case in King County is forcing us, once again, to consider this question. According to reports, someone trying to open a gay bar on Capitol Hill in Seattle requested print services from a printer in Kent. According to the owner of the print shop, the material he was asked to print contained content he was uncomfortable with, so he made the decision not to print it.
We don't know what kind of conversations took place in the print shop, but we do know that the following email was ultimately sent to the bar owners. According to the owner of the print shop, it was sent without his approval by a part-time employee.
"My boss had decided that we won't be able to print for your bar. Not that we're against homosexuals at all, but because knowing that our printed products will be advertising and promoting the kind of lifestyle that goes against our morals is something that he can't bring himself to do. "
While this employee probably does not have a public relations career in her future, the more important question is whether or not the position taken by the print shop is one of the freedoms and individual business owner should have.
The print shop owner insists that the refusal to print was not because the customers are gay.This is almost certainly true. If the same customers had asked for fliers advertising Girl Scout cookies, there would not be an issue.
But they didn't. They asked for a flier that advertised "Bad-A** bartenders" and "No Bull****drinks". The flier also referenced "less tudes" and "more dudes" in combination with a rainbow flag. Like it or not, that flier represents a perspective and a value system that some (hundreds of millions) Americans are not entirely comfortable with.
Why the outrage then? Aren't we supposed to celebrate our differences?
If the shop owner had refused to do work for a strip-club, a casino, or a fortune teller, no one would care. Nor would we demand a gay printer to do a print job for Exodus International, a ministry that helps people leave the gay lifestyle.
In America, after all, we respect the fact that not everyone is like us and we recognize that the chance to make different choices without the threat of harassment from our neighbors or our government is part of what makes us special. At least we used to.
The fact that this is a story illustrates how much some "liberals" resent individual freedom.
In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has offered to provide legal assistance in the event the customer wants to take legal action against the printer. Apparently their concept of "liberty"means the "liberty" to force people to do work for you but does not include the "liberty" to run your business in a way that is consistent with your personal beliefs. If you haven't been already, let me be the first to welcome to opposite world.
Executive Director FPIW