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Thursday, March 20, 2008

"This is America. When ordering, please speak English."

In a case that made national news in June of 2006, a shop owner, Joey Vento refused to remove a sign from his front window that said, "This is America. When ordering, please speak English." Today the Commission on Human Relations ruled in his favor.
June 9, 2006, Joey Vento hit the mainstream news by refusing a request from the a City Council member, Jim Kenney, to remove a sign he had in his storefront window that read, "This is America. When ordering, please speak English."

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said his staff is glad to help non-native speakers order in English and no one has been turned away because of a language barrier.

Today we see, almost two years later, the Commission on Human Relations has ruled that Vento did not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance, (19 page PDF file- Hat tip Hot Air.) because he had never turned a customer away for not speaking English, he simply requested that patrons at his South Philadelphia cheesesteak shop order in English.

It was a split decision from the three member panel and Vento had already stated that if the commission ruled against him he would take it to court for infringing on his freedom of speech.

Since the case has been ongoing for 21 months, and consumed hundreds of hours of legal time and was the subject of a seven-hour hearing in December, Shannon L. Goessling, executive director of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, who championed Vento's case says that he will still consider suing the commission for the cost of his defense.

Goessling said, "If that's what it takes to send a message to government, then that's what it takes."

Vento's attorney, Albert G. Weiss, said he did not expect the commission to rule in their favor and was pleasantly surprised.

In a statement that Vento gave in an interview he stated, "They made me famous throughout the world. I'm way ahead of the game. I became a hero. I've got to thank them for that."

He concludes by saying, "I woke up America, so to speak."

The commission's executive director, W. Nick Taliaferro, says the commission will not file an appeal.

More on Joey Vento can be found at Wikipedia.

This can be considered a major win for a business owners rights vs a world where political correctness tries to strip those rights.

Good for Vento!