Arkansas Cafe Says No to Equality Group’s Fundraiser, Compares Them to the KKK


Richard Hodo, the owner of Sisters Gourmet Bistro in Van Buren, canceled a planned fundraiser by River Valley Equality Center, a local LGBT rights group, after he found out who they were, ABC4029 reports:

"I told them that I do not support their cause, that if they want to do that that's their business. I do not care, but I don't support their lifestyle and their cause," said Hodo.

The organization said they raise awareness for the gay and lesbian community in the River Valley.

"What I told the lady on the on the phone, look I said if the KKK came here and wanted to hold a fundraiser rally and all that, I wouldn't allow that either," said Hodo.

Check out the video interview here.


  1. Ben M says

    Well I can’t say he doesn’t have a right to refuse political events from being hosted there. Yes, he made a KKK analogy, but I think he was just using a convenient example that is easily thought up without much concern to sensitivity of others. Maybe he does equate the two, but maybe he doesn’t, I would like a followup.

  2. JDE says

    That analogy isn’t that far off. Why should this guy welcome this group holding a function at his establishment that celebrated their beliefs, but then not be expected to be as accomodating of a white surpremist group wanting to come in and doing the same thing?

    Equal is equal, right?

  3. Steve says

    JDE, I guess I got confused with the so many conservative nutjob dumbasses that have been saying gay rights groups are bullies and are as bad as the KKK/holocaust/Stalin etc.

  4. mikey says

    Except one of those organizations is about bigotry and hatred and the other is about equality and people loving each other. Yes quite the same thing isn’t it, loser.

  5. Steve says

    Legally he is right (there were refused based on political ideology, not sexual orientation). But comparing advocating for human rights, with denying people rights and lynching them is still not a good idea.

  6. bandanajack says

    although it may make his decision too easy a target for mockery,i can see his point.

    let me get this on the table first, i am a die hard bleeding heart liberal, and i believe the constitution, despite the manner it is currently abused by our legislators, NOT our judiciary, is as close to a genius document as exists.

    that said, i STILL think he has a point, and in his mind he isn’t thinking of goodness of heart or intentions, but likening, in his mind, two polar opposites. i think the only candidate for a lefty pole that might supplant a group striving for equality is the ACLU and even that breaks in their favor fully a third of the time. he didn’t refuse to seat them, or serve them food, he refused to HOST them operating a fund-raiser. if i don’t want to be forced to host a klan rally, he ought not be forced to host a gay rights rally. sometimes the right to freedom of association trumps the right to assemble, ie namby. the key word is host, and i believe their might be a great many viewpoints his restaurant might wish to not be associated with… to the extent choosing not hosting any primarily lobbying or political group.

    call me if he turns down a wedding…

  7. Greg says

    Hi trolls! Welcome to our gay site. I know we gays are so fabulous that you fixate on us and even come on our blogs to read about our stories. And comment on them every day. We can’t help our gay urges much like you.

  8. Steve-ATL says

    We’ve become so accustomed to homophobia as a society that even on gay comments section, people fiercely defend the homophobe.
    The question then becomes: if he denied a hispanic caucas or african american, would you all still be as passionate in defending him? I’d venture to say no. So the othe question is, why do some of you feel racism is not acceptable but homophobia should be?

  9. Bob says

    First of all its Arkansas so I seriously doubt that there is a law about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
    Second I would give him a little bit of a pass because of his age… There was certainly KKK in Arkansas when he was young, and he did not go off on some phony Jesus diatribe.
    Third where was the brain of somebody who booked without double checking the restaurant because it in Arkansas not San Francisco

  10. Scott Johansen says

    If your initial response to reading this story is defending this man, mentioning his rights first then making slippery slope arguments all while still defending him, please recognize your homophobia. It’s there. I assure you. And you should try your best to examine it further and try to resolve it.

  11. 2 Dads says

    The same people defending this man for kicking out a peaceful gay fundraiser are the SAME exact people who in other posts about bakers denying same sex couples cakes and any bakers goods say “well, that the gay couples problem! Go find a gay friendly bakery”
    For you see, the apologist crowd never ever hold the homophobe accountable. Accountability always falls on the gay people to go out of their way to find a place that will accept them, even if it means driving 6 hours to another city to get services. Homophobia is an ugly thing y’all and even worse when gay people endorse it.

  12. says

    So for those who claim his religion should protect him from allowing this. Can’t I make the argument that if that’s okay, then so to should be a restaurant that doesn’t want to serve a gay couple after finding out they are a couple. How would you feel about that? I mean said restaurant owner could easily make the same argument “serving a same sex couple in my establishment goes against my religion. I refuse to have anything to do with it” and what about a hotel or bed & breakfest that doesn’t want to allow entry to a gay couple because of their religious beliefs.
    Should gay people in some parts of the country literally take road trips for hours before being able to be granted permission and access to some establishments. Whether realized or not, that’s exactly what you are porposing.

  13. Jess says

    I wonder who Hodo thought the River Valley Equality Center was when he booked it in the first place? Guess we’ll never know.

  14. Carlos says

    Don’t you get it? That gay people have to call places and seek premission to enter ‘or else’ is what is wrong with this picture. And being all too flippant about it and almost suggesting homophobia should be a way of life, depending on where you live, exasperates the problem and does absolutely zero to challenge and confront homophobia. Moving on and picking a new place isn’t the answer. Shedding light on homophobia, whereever it may be is the answer. Every pocket of anti gay situations can be a teachable moment.

  15. T.J says

    @ Bob
    What about the story of the gay straight alliance of a local school in Nevada meeting at an ice cream shop; they were sitting in a corner like any other group of patrons, when the owner noticed they all had the same rainbow flag outside their binders. When he came over and asked what they were doing and they simply said, just sharing notes and organizing for a gay straight event, they were asked to leave and refused service. What do you say to that?

  16. says

    His comparison is outrageous and shame on anyone trying to justify it. Get a grip and grab your convictions. You’re either against the mistreatment of gay people, or you willingly side with a bigot who freely compares equality groups to terrorists. SMH at apologist.

  17. AngelaChanning says

    I agree 2 Dads, however, if I discovered a business was homophobic but grudgingly made the wedding cake for the lesbian couple, I would not want to patronize them. If I were shopping for bakers and found out they held those views, I would probably go elsewhere to a business that supports the community. A smart business just smiles and takes the money. Good grief even the Mormon Marriotts have hotel room porn. LOLs.

  18. David Hearne says


    Supporting the right to Freedom of Association makes one a troll? How do you figure that?

  19. David Hearne says


    You remind me of the right wing idiots who say that the ACLU supports NAZIs and NAMBLA because the ACLU supports freedom of speech.

    Supporting this man’s right to Freedom Of Association is not the same as agreeing with him. Are you really that stupid?

  20. DAX says

    To those saying this man makes sense with his comparison and is fair; homophobia is a DISEASE. Get cured. If you don’t, world is constantly moving forward while you and this man get left behind, further and further into irrational bigotry.

  21. J.J says

    David Hearne = a new Rick alias. If it wasn’t so obvious it be laughable.
    Oh Rick. Retired at home with nothing better to do then camp out on gay blogs.

  22. Wide Stance says

    @ David Hearne
    This story and related stories have nothing to do with freedom of assoiation. Don’t play dumb for your agenda. That freedom of association argument could easily be used to justify any form of service being denied to gay patrons, an act which would get you jumping up and down supporting the person doing it while playing the freedom of association card. Heck, for people like you, gays would only be allowed entery in places that read ‘gays allowed’
    We’re not that community anymore. We don’t accept discimination nor do we have to. I don’t pay taxes to a system that enables bigots to deny me food, or access, or a cab, or a hotel room. We the gay community won’t stand for that and if you think we will, you’ve got another fight way ove your head you’re in for.

  23. OPL says

    This is the third story I’ve read this month alone with something similar. In other cases, the restaurants were denying gay couples altogether. And in all the cases, a select few people feel a business owners right to discriminate trumps the right of a gay individual peacefully having access to what heterosexuals have. Anyone who feels that a business owner has the right to reject gay people strictly because they are gay is no different than a segregationist. You just want to promote segregation and get away with it. Sorry we don’t all agree with drinking out of “gay approved” water fountains and eateries.

  24. Duration & Convexity says

    This is getting out of hand with bigots. EVERY DAY there’s a new story regarding another bigot wanting to deny us something based on our sexuality. It’s not enough they vote against our rights, they now want to adopt segregation. Enough is enough!
    we need more laws that protect gay families. It’s like the trolley in Louisiana that refused to allow a lesbian couple on board. Seriously? what next? gay couples can’t be allowed into ice cream shops together?

  25. ZerosumNJ says

    When you hear a person use the term “lifestyle” in relation to being gay….they equal backward, militant, fundamentalist, Bible thumping wack job. It’s a code word for me that automatically identifies a bigot.

  26. M.J says

    Next, gay couples will have to start calling various businesses to ask for permission to be able to be seated inside. Whether business owners have the right or not is a moot point, the point is, they shouldn’t have a right to deny access to same sex people based on who we inherently are. We’re NOT asking them to marry us.

  27. cici says

    I’m really sick and tired of bigots wanting to exercise their bigotry in the name of religious freedom. I’m sick and tired of filthy religion, as a matter of fact, and have never resented anything more in my life. More folks need not be afraid to call out the sham that is religion.

  28. ***** says

    Surely the Sisters Groody Bistro, has been removed from the Western Arkansas Tour bus stoping agenda. It was found to be necessary since their biscuits were buttered with margarine and not real cow butter and they charged extra for the apple butter spread that you get for free at Shoneys. Also some of the white table cloths looked like the had been use for horse blankets in a KKK rally. I was not sure if the ketchup was real tomato catsup of a strange version of strawberry jam.

  29. Mr. Anonymous says

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in this bistro being named “Sisters”? That is gay slang for fellow gay men!! ROTFLMAO!!!

  30. simon says

    Business is business. I would let KKK use the restaurant if I have one as long as they don’t carry torches into the restaurant.

  31. gayalltheway says

    It’s Arkansas. Do you expect any less from an ignorant, intolerant, and bigoted old white man?

  32. says

    that’s as intellectually obtuse as Stacey Campfield saying “well, if we dont’ say gay at all that means we can’t say anything bad, either”, (before he goes on TV and the news and any interview and then says heinously bad things about gay people.”

    this dunce is comparing apples and cadillacs.

    by his own faulty attempt at logic, he should be allowed to discriminate against an all-black group anyone, too.

    oh well. hope he goes out of business because of this.

  33. andrew says

    It should be noted that Arkansas is the state where President Eisenhower at MLK’s urging sent the Army into Little Rock in 1957 to prevent Gov Faubus and the Arkansas National Guard from preventing nine black teenagers from integrating Central H.S. Closed minds open VERY slowly.

  34. mmike1969 says

    When are all these bigoted old white males going to die off? It’s not happening fast enough!

  35. andrew says

    Bandanajack made the mistake of posting comments not in accordance with the Bible of Littlekiwi. The result: All the Littlekiwi aliases like Scott Johansen, 2Dads, Art Smith etc etc came out to beat the “heretical” Bandanajack into submission.

  36. David Hearne says

    @ Wide stance

    “This story and related stories have nothing to do with freedom of assoiation. ”

    It absolutely does. It’s his private property, his labor, and his business. You have no constitutional right to force him to do business with you.

    “That freedom of association argument could easily be used to justify any form of service being denied to gay patrons,”


    ” Heck, for people like you, gays would only be allowed entery in places that read ‘gays allowed'”


    “I don’t pay taxes to a system that enables bigots to deny me food, or access, or a cab, or a hotel room.”

    You don’t pay taxes which support that man’s business. He pays taxes which support public services.

    ” We the gay community won’t stand for that and if you think we will, you’ve got another fight way ove your head you’re in for.”

    What you are “standing for” is to violate the rights of other people. You apparently have no respect for private property. Currently the law (as opposed to the Constitution) has been allowed to prohibit certain kinds of discrimination which amount to trampling the rights of business owners. This is wrong. All the laws and court rulings and twisted interpretations of the Constitution will not change the nature of what this practice does: it tramples the rights of citizens to control property that they own, and to refuse to do work that they don’t want to do.

    If you want to force someone to work, start with people in public housing on food stamps. Those are the people your alleged taxes paid go to.

  37. andrew says

    FYI: Most of the adults living in Public Housing and using Food Stamps already work, often very hard and for low wages.

  38. RC says

    While equality is equality I will say that comparing things such as the KKK to say the ACLU, HRC, NAACP, and other equality groups is about as smart as comparing school children to rabid dogs. I might have been a little more inclined to believe this man had meant that he didn’t want to host the fundraiser so that he could stay neutral if said that he would also not host a religious fundraiser or a fundraiser for either political party. But the man said KKK so I would say that he at least looks at them both as, at the least, similar in cause or nature.

  39. David Hearne says

    @ mmike

    “When are all these bigoted old white males going to die off? It’s not happening fast enough!”

    Isn’t a caucasian people and European culture the commonality of all countries where gay people are safest and have the most legally secured rights? Let’s see now:

    USA vs. Uganda
    Canada vs Saudi Arabia
    Israel vs Egypt
    Australia vs Iran
    Spain vs Morocco
    Netherlands vs Nigeria
    Argentina vs Jamaica
    England vs Yemen
    Ireland vs Jordan
    Scotland vs Rhodesia
    Denmark vs Burma

    Really the only caucasian countries/cultures that aren’t the best places for gay people to live are Russia and the caucasian countries infested with Islam.

  40. David Hearne says

    @ Andrew said : “FYI: Most of the adults living in Public Housing and using Food Stamps already work, often very hard and for low wages.”

    HUD says:

    “21 percent of public housing households reported income from wages and salaries” – source HUD

  41. andrew says

    @David Hearn: Above you are bragging about Western Nations and their egalitarian ways. In another post you seem to be saying that SNAP money is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds. According to the USDA SNAP (food stamps) costs about 80 billion dollars per year and gives food assistance to about 45 million Americans. By comparison that 80 billion only funded 3months of the Iraq war which wound up costing American taxpayers about ! trillion dollars. According to USDA about 1/2 of all new food stamp recipients only stay on the program for about 9 months.

  42. David Hearne says

    @ Andrew

    You’re trying to deflect from the fact that you made a claim that is demonstrably false. Even so, “egalitarian ways” are about equal rights which has nothing to do with welfare or food stamps. The entire point of my original comment on food stamps and public housing is that the taxpayers/government have the right to place conditions on receipt of public charity, they do not have a right to take the private property of a citizen or make is ability to earn a living conditional on surrendering his civil rights.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how someone who clearly believes himself to be intelligent does not understand the principles of liberty and private property.

  43. andrew says

    @David Hearn: You correctly quoted the HUD data that about 21% of Public Housing households receive income from wages. You failed to mention that HUD estimates that about 40% of Public Housing households are headed by a person 65 or older ( 88% of whom live alone) and another 12% of the household are headed by a disabled person. We are not talking about a huge program here. In a nation of over 330 million people there are fewer than 1 and 1/2 million units of occupied public housing.

  44. David Hearne says

    @ Andrew

    “Above you are bragging about Western Nations and their egalitarian ways. In another post you seem to be saying that SNAP money is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.”

    Your reading comprehension needs work. While I’m not averse to bragging about the superiority of Euro and descendant cultures the point was made in response to a stupid remark about the apparent bright future in a post caucasian world. Clearly there is no basis for such a wish.

    My reference to welfare was limited to the authority of government to make conditions for those things, applying rules to the property the government owns and conditions under which a person may or may not work to get those benefits. The point was and still is that _private property_ and the labor of self employed people ought to be respected in the context of an individual’s right to freedom of association.

    We have gay bars, gay hotels, and gay restaurants do we not? How did they get that way and how do they stay that way? Would you have us believe it’s serendipity? Having worked in several gay businesses I assure you that it was not by accident that these places were predominantly gay and stayed that way. We expressed a preference. Now the lightest version of the laws you seem to think are OK (as long as it works for you or you think it does) is expressing a preference. Under nondiscrimination laws in public accommodations, it’s against the law to advertise or promote a preference based on the protected categories.

    So that black bar? It’s in violation. That gay bar? It’s in violation. If there is a spanish speaking bar where they can speak English but refuse to do so…. that is discrimination.

    Not only that, but something which you might do for some perfectly legal reason can be actionable if it has the effect of discrimination. For example, if you were to open a restaurant in an area of DC that whites are reclaiming, and you only accept American Express cards (no other cards no cash). That could be seen as discrimination. A restaurant in Myrtle Beach was threatened with a lawsuit by the NAACP because it planned to be closed during Black Bike Weekend. The place planned to be closed because their experience with that event was not good. But the NAACP thought they could make a case in court, and apparently so did the atty for the restaurant.

    People have a right to freedom of association and the enjoyment of their privately owned property. Somewhere along the way the courts decided it was OK for the government to trample those rights in the name of “civil rights”.