No shirt, no shoes, not straight, no service?
A Kentucky shop plastered stickers on its front door, including one with a crossed out rainbow flag – a symbol of gay pride – suggesting it might refuse to serve LGBT customers.
Herald Embroidery in the town of Oak Grove, which specializes in promotional products for the military, made the graphic in the same look as the common “no shoes, no shirt, no service” signs. Signage also alerts visitors over restrictions on the use of “foul language.”
Guns, beards and the quoting of Bible verses, however, are allowed inside the store.
Their new rules prompted an explanation from the company on its website: “We recently posted five 3" stickers on the front entrance to our shop. Two of these stickers are negative and prohibitive in their message,” said Herald Embroidery. “After some public confusion as to the meaning of one which depicted a rainbow flag, we’ve replaced them with a clarification.”
The statement continued, “While we will serve all customers who treat our place of business with respect, we reserve the right to refuse to produce promotional products that promote ideas that are not in keeping with our consciences. This includes, but is not limited to content promoting homosexuality, freemasonry, the use of foul language, and imagery which promotes immodesty.”
Last month, Kentucky lawmakers voted to override Gov. Steve Beshear’s veto of controversial religious freedom bill, opening the door to these kinds of practices. Unless there’s a "a compelling governmental interest,” the law gives added protections for those with "sincerely held religious beliefs” from government infringement.
Though many critics argue these freedom bills offer a free pass to discriminate against the LGBT community and many other minority groups.
As noted by The Advocate, Google Plus commenters have begun to chime in on their business page, and most were not supportive. “I'm so disappointed with the anti-gay stance that this business has taken,” wrote reviewer Gregory Brookes, for example. ”You are a business, open to the public. You don't operate out of a private house or even a church. You have a public store front. You benefit greatly by being open to the public because anyone can see your business and chose to use it. In return for this public benefit, you must serve the whole public, not just those who agree with you, the whole, entire public!”
LGBT rights have been a major part of the Kentucky dialogue in recent weeks. Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway announced he would not appeal a federal gay marriage ruling that requires state officials to recognize same-sex marriages performed in one of the 17 states that allow them.