Ronald McDonald 1, Wimpy Mom 0 (and more Wednesday Morning Miscellany)

Ronald McDonald 1, Wimpy Mom 0: Last week, a San Francisco judge threw out a lawsuit by a mother who claimed their “unfair, unlawful, deceptive and fraudulent” advertising campaigns made it impossible for her not to buy Happy Meals for her daughter, thereby undermining her authority over her daughter and harming her daughter’s health.

Is the Orleans Parish Prison the worst city jail in America?

Is a t-shirt company guilty of illegal discrimination if they refuse to print up t-shirts for a gay rights event? (or likewise, say, a printer who refuses to produce pamphlets for a white supremacist organization)

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© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

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19 Responses to Ronald McDonald 1, Wimpy Mom 0 (and more Wednesday Morning Miscellany)

  1. Matthew Matthew says:

    Hands On Originals has the right to print or not print what it chooses. Now that all of Lexington knows its prejudice against homosexuals, I trust that Hands On will lose business.

    The Gay & Lesbian organization will find another printer, and I hope that the organization publicizes the narrow-mindedness of Hands On.

    • Powers Powers says:

      I agree, but shame on this organization for filing this frivolous lawsuit.

    • Mark M Mark M says:

      I doubt they lose business because of it. There was actually something very similar in my area where an insurance company refused to insure a church with an openly gay minister. That’s been a few years, and they are still doing fine.

      As far as the story here goes, I don’t see any obvious prejudice or narrow-mindedness. Maybe they would not print shirts for a “hetero-pride” event either. Displaying one’s sexual preference on a shirt, whatever it may be, seems a little tasteless in my opinion.

  2. Rich Rich says:

    I very much get the owners point – I would think any printer has come across a situation like this . . What if the shirts were for a bestiality festival? Is it still discrimantion? How about refusing to print racist pamphlets? I think it should be possible to refuse to print ‘inapropriate’ material (in his own judgement) and not automatically be called discrimination.

    • Proginoskes Proginoskes says:

      A local T-shirt business in Tempe makes it clear up front what T-shirts they will and will not print up. They draw the line at hateful speech, so they would print shirts for a gay pride event, but not ones with racial slogans.

  3. Boise Ed Boise Ed says:

    I can’t answer the poll question because I am not a Kentucky (or anywhere) lawyer and don’t know precisely what constitutes illegal discrimination there. Is it moral to refuse? My tendency is to say yes, and that it would be immoral to abet such people. But then I consider an opposite case, such as a pharmacist in a small town refusing to sell RU486 to a raped woman. How can I condemn one merchant and not the other?

    • James Pollock James Pollock says:

      The rule for pharmacists IS more restrictive… it allows pharmacists to decline to fill prescriptions if they refer the patient to a pharmacist who will, but requires them to dispense if no other pharmacist is available.

  4. furrykef furrykef says:

    Huh. Worst jail in America and it’s not even Arpaio’s?

  5. Dbenson Dbenson says:

    I don’t see a case against the T-shirt company at all. After all, it’s not like they’re denying an essential service or hold a monopoly on local wearable media. There might be some legal interest if the plaintiffs could demonstrate that the T-shirt company previously accepted jobs that violated the standards they used to deny service here, but otherwise it’s just pick up the phone and call another printer.

    Mark M’s example of an insurance company is more problematic. Insurance is expensive, and a major necessity. Did they previously insure the church, then stop over disapproval of the new minister? Did the firm have a history of turning away clients over professed religious objections; or did they make the assertion that a gay priest created too much risk? (Either could be challenged) Were there reasonable options for the church (i.e., other firms willing to offer similar policies and terms)? Business owners definitely have the right to run their ventures as they see fit; the issues arise when their decisions cause more than inconvenience for other people.

    • James Pollock James Pollock says:

      There IS a legitimate reason why an insurance company might decline coverage for a church with an openly gay person associated with it.
      Insurance is protection against risk. If the insurance company thinks that having open gays associated with them substantially increases the risk of fire (arson) or structural damage (vandalism), then the cost of providing coverage would be expected to rise substantially, as well…
      Insurance is a highly-regulated industry. If the state imposes restrictions on how premium rates can rise and why, it might be safer for the company to simply decline to renew coverage.
      (Note that this scenario depends upon the insurance company assuming that there are intolerant people who would intentionally damage a house of worship because there are, or might be, gay people in it. This assumption may be void in some areas.)

  6. Tom Townsend Tom Townsend says:

    It is Hands On’s right to refuse to serve whoever they wish, assuming that this policy is not illegal in that community. The Gay Pride people are also free to rally well-deserved scorn to be heaped on their tiny heads as well [idiots].

  7. Tim Tim says:

    The alternative is to say that the printer – or any individual, ultimately – would be REQUIRED BY LAW to do that work, even if it represents something to which he is religiously opposed. That boils down to a denial of his right to practice his religion as he sees fit.

    Yet another case where the best thing the government can do is stay out of the way. Either people in that area will support the printer or people will boycott the printer.

    • James Pollock James Pollock says:

      “That boils down to a denial of his right to practice his religion as he sees fit.”

      No, it doesn’t. It means he shouldn’t have entered a career field where the demands of the job run counter to the demands of his religion. (Kind of like the way Jews and Muslims probably shouldn’t take a job at the bacon-packaging plant).

      • Powers Powers says:

        That’s not the same thing at all. This is not one guy who /works for/ a printing company saying “I won’t do my job because I disagree with this message”; it’s an entire company saying “we are not going to do business with you because we disagree with this message”. Last I checked, businesses still had a right to decide with whom they choose to do business.

        • Powers Powers says:

          … and even if it was the same thing, the bacon-packing plant workers aren’t in danger of breaking the law if they refuse to handle bacon; they’re just going to get fired. Who’s going to fire the head of a T-shirt printing company? Is he going to fire himself?

  8. Proginoskes Proginoskes says:

    From the article: “The quote from Hands On Originals was the lowest bid from a local company.”

    If you’re going to bid on doing something, that means you intend to actually do it. If the Christians at HOO didn’t want to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival, they shouldn’t have submitted a bid in the first place. And if they thought the order might violate their “policies”, they should have clarified exactly what kind of event was being promoted. (Of course, they can’t be held to this, because it was probably only an oral agreement.)

    It sounds like HOO missed out on a lot of money here, as well as a lot of word-of-mouth, which should be punishment enough.

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