As some business owners seek the right to discriminate against LGBT people, especially same-sex couples seeking wedding-related services, others are asserting their LGBT-friendliness.
One of the latest examples of the latter comes from the deep red state of Texas, where the Dallas-based North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce is handing out stickers and signs with the words "LGBT Zone" and "We Welcome Everyone," and businesses are snapping them up, The Dallas Morning News reports.
"Dozens of the signs, anchored by a rainbow-colored design mimicking a barcode, have been ordered in the first days" of availability, the Morning News reported Monday. And they're going up not just in gay enclaves but all over Dallas, according to the paper.
"We could do any of these campaigns, and every business on Cedar Springs [a major street in one of Dallas's gay areas] would happily put a sticker in their windows," chamber spokesman Waylon Tate told the Morning News. "But what you want to do is expand on the idea. If a lot more non-LGBT business owners step up and embrace the campaign, that's really where you see the victory. And that's where you might see the change happen."
Tony Vedda, president of the chamber, said the campaign was inspired by antigay incidents nationwide, including the statement by owners of an Indiana pizzeria that they wouldn't cater a same-sex wedding.
"If somebody had gone there expecting to be treated with respect and having their wedding reception catered with pizza, they would have run into a brick wall, or a brick oven, one of the two," Vedda told the newspaper. "There are lots of businesses out there that really do want to welcome everyone. It doesn't matter to them your race, your religion, your sexual orientation, your gender identity."
One of the first businesses to join the campaign was Candelaria's Bakery, a family-owned shop far from any gayborhood. Owner Iris Candelaria said a cousin who is gay and works at the bakery informed her about the project.
"We are in the business of celebrating life and all the wonderful moments," she told the Morning News. "I would hate for somebody to come in here and not feel welcome." Noting that the bakery provided a cake for a same-sex wedding a couple of years ago, she added, "We have no judgment here. Everyone is welcome. ... All they want to do is celebrate their happiness and their union and share it with the world."