A Christian disc jockey decided to turn down a work opportunity at a gay man's birthday party in Maryland. However, the state has a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in public.
According to Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post, Michael Lampiris, co-owner of Ultrasound Deejays, told 46-year-old Tom Tsakounis that he would be unable to play at a birthday party meant for his 60-year-old gay roommate. Tsakounis is also married to another man.
"I just said, 'We won't be able to do it, we're a Christian organization and it would go against our faith, I'm sorry," Lampiris wrote.
Boorstein reported that Tsakounis then filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Human Rights Commission, which hears cases of alleged discrimination. However, both men expressed surprise that their dispute has received nationwide attention.
"Tom Tsakounis said he had never been denied services in his life because he is gay and was floored to see it happen in Montgomery County - a liberal suburb where he has lived for 15 years," Boorstein wrote. "Lampiris, 54, has been living in the county for 30 years and said he had never heard of the law forbidding such discrimination."
Lampiris listed various disclaimers on his company's website as to what types of events the company will not play.
"We will not be involved in any event involving homosexual celebration or activity. We follow biblical morality," Ultrasound Deejays wrote. "We do not work on Sundays."
According to the company's website, Ultrasound Deejays is a "family friendly" venue that does "not play music that contains profanity or vulgarity." The company also indicated that they would not do events that included "strippers," "provocative dancing or actions," "fortune tellers, psychics, or magicians."
"We will always try to provide a bright, entertaining, wholesome and fun deejay style where no one is left out, and everyone leaves with a smile," Ultrasound Deejays wrote.
According to Boorstein, Lampiris seemed unconcerned with any potential legal challenges.
"Their firm, which has at times had a roster of 40 DJ-contractors, has turned down other events, he said, such as when a teacher wouldn't promise to work to stop raunchy dancing among students, or when he found out a bridal party included several lesbians," Boorstein wrote.
Lampiris argued that it was "important" for him and his company to take a stand.
"We don't want to go against the law, but we also sometimes are called to do that if it goes against your faith," Lampiris said. "To me, it would be like a synagogue having to cater to a neo-Nazi party or black DJ having to do a KKK dance."
Lampiris added that he did not see gay clients as a "physical threat."
"It's a conscience thing, and conscience is very important for everybody," Lampiris said. "In fact, I think it's the most important thing."
Lampiris cited the Book of Acts in defending his decision to turn down the offer, hoping that the issue would not drastically affect his business or boil over with even more tensions.
"We would make a stand if the good Lord is willing," Lampiris said. "We ought to obey God rather than men."