Hardware Store Posts Sign Excluding People According to Sexuality

A hardware store in East Tennessee celebrated a recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of a cake baker who denied service to a same-sex couple. The store promptly put up a sign in the window that said 'No Gays Allowed'.

Many are worried that the ruling would spark discrimination against LGBT people and feel this store is proof.

Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee put up the sign shortly after the ruling was announced on June 4. It isn't the first time owner Jeff Amyx hung the sign in his window, though.

The small business owner was slammed back in 2015 over putting up the sign, and took it down.

He reposted the sign after Supreme Court justices issued a limited ruling on Monday in a case involving a Colorado baker and a gay couple. The couple went to the bakery to order a cake for their wedding, and Jack Phillips said he wouldn't bake a cake for a gay wedding because it would be against his religious beliefs.

Phillips said he would sell any pre-made cakes to the couple, or bake them a birthday cake, but he argued that as an artist, it would violate his artistic freedom to force him to make a cake for an event that was against his conscience. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled against Phillips, and the case eventually went to the US Supreme Court.

In a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS voted that the commission violated Phillips' rights under the first amendment. The ruling was very specific to reiterate that same-sex couples can't be discriminated against, but felt in this case that the commission was hostile to Phillips due to his religious beliefs and were inconsistent in their handling of the situation.

"The commission's hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth," the ruling went on. "The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market."

Even though the limited ruling cannot be used as a precedent to allow business owners to turn away gay couples, many worried that this is the message that some anti-LGBT people might get. Amyx's sign is seen as proof of this.

"They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can't I? They believe their way is right, I believe it's wrong. But yet I'm going to take more persecution than them because I'm standing for what I believe in," Amyx told USA Today.

Shortly after getting backlash for his sign, Amyx took it down and replaced it with one that read, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion."

Source: USA Today
Photos: Amyx Hardware TN/Twitter, Latest

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