North Dakota coffee shop bans state politicians who opposed anti-discrimination bill

Owner says the politicians aren’t welcome unless they are accompanied by LGBT person

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The Independent US

The owner of a coffee shop in North Dakota’s capital has drawn attention after imposing a ban on the 55 state politicians who opposed an anti-discrimination bill in the state legislature, the Washington Post reported.

Joe Curry, owner of Red Raven Espresso Parlour in Fargo, posted the photos of the 55 Republican members of the state House along with a sign saying those politicians were banned from the coffee shop, “Unless accompanied by a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual, queer, intersex or asexual person.”




Mr Curry insists that the ban wasn’t actually a ban, but meant as a way to get the politicians to think about the anti-discrimination bill.

“The ban was, I thought, very tongue in cheek, requiring them to be escorted by someone from the LBGT community,” Mr Curry told the Washington Post. “I hope that they thought about it, at least, and I hope some of them giggled. But in the end, they are all welcome here.”

Discrimination against LGBT people has been heavy in the media lately as two religious-freedom bills, one in Indiana and one in Arkansas, have drawn criticism. The Indiana bill, which was signed by Governor Mike Pence, could have allowed business owners to discriminate against gays.

After the opposition flared, Governor Pence asked lawmakers to change the bill to explicitly forbid discrimination. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson asked lawmakers in his state to include a similar provision before he signed the bill.

Mr Curry has taken down the photos of the North Dakota politicians from the walls of his coffee shop, but he said he could put it back up again, should he feel the need.


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