In response to proposed legislation that some say would allow Indiana businesses to openly discriminate against gays, some Indianapolis business are displaying stickers announcing that they are “Open for Service” to all customers, The Indianapolis Star is reporting.
Indiana, like other states (including Oklahoma), is considering legislation that, depending on your point of view, either protects religious business owners from being forced to violate their religious beliefs, or provides a carte blanche for bigoted business owners to discriminate against minority customers – in particular, LGBTQ customers.
In fact, several religious business owners throughout the country have found themselves fined, sued or otherwise called to account for their refusal to serve gay customers, on religious grounds. For example, an Oregon baker refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding and is now facing $150,000 in fines, according to this Inquisitr report.
As this rather contentious legal and societal problem plays out in the courts, the state legislatures, and on the floors of the businesses involved, Indianapolis resident Josh Driver, 33, has started the Open for Service project.
“We are a non-partisan, non-judgemental [sic] group looking to provide a grassroots network for people to support businesses that open their doors for everyone – Black, White, Gay, Straight, Christian, Athiest (sic)… well, you get our drift.”
Driver’s organization is selling “Open for Service” stickers that gay-friendly (or everyone-friendly) businesses can put in their windows. For $10, you get the sticker and your business listed in an online directory that Driver jokingly calls “an anti-discrimination Angie’s List, so to speak.” Proceeds go to SCORE – a small business advocacy network.
Driver insists that the “Open for Service” stickers are not intended as a political statement.
“We’re not looking to target businesses that don’t want to get on board. This is more of a celebration.”
Kristin Kohn, who owns the Silver in the City gift shop in downtown Indianapolis, proudly displays an “Open for Service” sticker.
“Nobody would be turned away from patronizing our business based on who they are or what they believe. I want all of our visitors to feel welcome in Indianapolis. It’s a fight back at what I believe to be a very negative image that the rest of the nation might feel toward Indiana based on this bill.”
As of this post, some 20 Indianapolis businesses have purchased the “Open for Service” stickers.