Now that Republican Governor Mike Pence has confirmed there will be no changes to Indiana's Religious Bigotry Act, at least one Indiana business owner has publicly announced his intention to discriminate against all gays and lesbians who attempt to patronize his restaurant business.
A caller to RadioNOW 100.9 told listeners, “I’m 100% behind people’s lifestyles, and what they want to do, but I don’t want them to bring that into my place of business, and make other people that are there feel uncomfortable.”
The caller, who identified himself only as “Ryan,” touted his religious values—saying “I grew up Christian, and I believe in man and woman, Adam and Even not Adam and Steve.” But he seemed to have a more earthly reason for banning gays.
“If a couple comes into my restaurant and makes other people leave my place of business, then I’m losing more money from the people leaving than coming in,” he explained.
(Audio of the call is embedded in the article and here
One aspect of his call suggests he may be legitimate--he was too cowardly to give his name and the name of his business:
He added that there are tons of business owners who agree with Governor Mike Pence and this is 'the way it should be.' [But w]hen asked to name the restaurant he owns, he said, 'I don’t want to say what business I own… I don’t think I'm ready to come of the closet with that.'
Having listened to the audio several times, I will leave it to the listener to decide whether "Ryan" is a legitimate restaurant owner or simply a clever troll getting his jollies. On the one hand his statements are cliche-ridden ["lifestyles;" "Adam and Steve"], his answers a little too readily delivered; on the other hand what he says sounds fairly straightforward. Giving "Ryan" the benefit of the doubt, his desire for anonymity meshes well with the fact that the law was signed by Pence in private with a view towards placating with as little fanfare as possible an intolerant but politically useful Republican minority, as well as the unwillingness of bigots in general to own up to their bigotry in public.
It also demonstrates that the roots of discrimination being planted in Indiana go well beyond anything to do with one's "religion." While Ryan claims he "grew up Christian," his stated reason for discriminating is that he thinks "those people" (gays or lesbians) might make his customers uncomfortable and thus affect his bottom line:
“Well, I feel okay with it because it’s my place of business, I pay the rent, I’ve built it with all my money and my doing. It’s my place; I can do whatever I want with it,” he said. “They can have their lifestyle and do their own thing in their own place or with people that want to be with them.”
In fact "Ryan" states at the outset that he doesn't care about "their lifestyles." The law as he sees it, however, permits him to discriminate on the assumption that others'
"religious views" will be offended. More than anything else, "Ryan" demonstrates how these types of pernicious laws can be abused to create an entire culture of discrimination, based purely on economics.
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