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Protesters, Supporters Rally Outside Anti-gay Michigan Auto Shop: VIDEO

Mi

A group of around 45 protesters and nearly as many supporters gathered outside Grandville, Michigan auto shop Dieseltec on Saturday, the latest update in the ongoing controversy surrounding the owner Brian Klawiter's now infamous declaration that he "would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons."

MLive reports:

Saturday's protest was organized by a Muskegon pastor, the Rev. Robert Teszlewicz.

Most of the protesters brought signs. Some read "Love Wins," "God = Love," "Stop Bigotry. Spend your dollars where all are welcome," "Gay is OK," and "Who are you to judge God's children?"

Teszlewicz said he wanted the protest to be peaceful.

"I don't think you can consider yourself a Christian and deny service to someone else," he said. "If you're going to call yourself a Christian, then you need to respond in a Christian way."

Supporters of Klawiter, meanwhile, gathered at the auto shop on Saturday for a barbecue. "He's got a right to his own opinion," said Bob Smith. "He's not violating the law."

Watch protesters verbally clash with Klawiter supporters, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously, "Bankruptcy Lawyer Pens Brilliant Open Letter Smackdown to Homophobic Michigan Auto Shop Owner" [tlrd]

Continue reading "Protesters, Supporters Rally Outside Anti-gay Michigan Auto Shop: VIDEO" »


Bankruptcy Lawyer Pens Brilliant Open Letter Smackdown to Homophobic Michigan Auto Shop Owner: READ

Klawiter

Grand Rapids bankruptcy attorney Jeffrey Mapes (pictured below) has penned the perfect response to Brian Klawiter, the owner of the Grandville, Michigan auto shop who declared this week he "would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons" but that gun owners would receive a discount at his shop.

Wrote Mapes on his practice's website:

MapesDear Dieseltec:

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jeffrey Mapes, and I specialize in bankruptcy law — helping individuals and corporations when things go wrong. I noticed your post on Facebook where you decided to alienate most of the general public by stating that you will refuse service to openly homosexual people. This is certainly an unorthodox business strategy, and perhaps it will work for you, but I get the feeling you will need a bankruptcy attorney pretty soon and I wanted to offer my services. Like you, I am white, male, Christian, a business owner, and a gun owner. Unlike you, I provide services to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation because it doesn’t matter to me — I hope this won’t be a deal breaker for you.

     If that upsets you, let me tell you a little bit more about our office to try and persuade you, The first thing you will notice is how friendly and compassionate the office staff is. Despite your inane, incoherent and just plain dumb comments, we know that everyone makes mistakes and we want to help you overcome them. They will also be more than willing to help you with some basic grammar that you seem to struggle with.

     If you still need more convincing, let me assure you that we will make certain that your bankruptcy petition is filed correctly and there are no errors. You stated in your post that you would incorrectly assemble a vehicle in order to prove a point. I want to let you know that despite the fact that I would love to prove a point to you about tolerance, I won’t compromise my standards of quality to do so. After all, I have to look in the mirror at the end of the day and if I didn’t do my best for everyone, I would have trouble sleeping. Perhaps you could give me pointers on how you sleep at night?

Continue reading, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Michigan Auto Shop Owner Vows to 'Stand Firm' As Outcry Continues Over Anti-gay Facebook Post

Klawiter

As you can probably guess Brian Klawiter, the owner of Dieseltec in Grandville, Michigan who sparked a firestorm earlier this week for a Facebook post stating he "would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons," isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed/auto shop. 

Klawiter who according to MLive "looked frazzled" at his shop Thursday morning and "seemed surprised his Facebook comments had received so much attention," has claimed he himself has become the victim in this controversy he created.

There's also this (since edited) follow-up Facebook post that probably didn't help cool things down either:

Listen up folks, If you have an opposing view to mine that IS OK, what is NOT OK is threats to kill me, my family, and friends; threats to burn down my shop and my home. I will stand firm on my views and will not back down, (There also seems to be a TON of confusion about one of my comments, the bolt and nut thing was a reference to physiology, bolt penis and nut vagina. I DID NOT threaten to purposely put a vehicle together wrong to harm someone.) I also am not asking for anyone to do the gofundme postings. We are a successful business and are blessed to be able to feed our families. If there is any money raised it will be redistributed to people with greater needs than ours.

Dieseltec

Cummins, a Fortune 500 company that manufactures engines and other auto parts, has already asked Klawiter to stop using its logo on Dieseltec ads.

No official word yet from Power Stroke Diesel or Duramax Diesel, the two other companies pictured in the above image. Can't imagine they want to be affiliated with such bigotry though, especially with the flood of one-star Yelp reviews coming in... 


Michigan Car Repair Shop Owner 'Would Not Hesitate to Refuse Service to an Openly Gay Person' - VIDEO

Klawiter

Brian Klawiter has apparently had "enough" of liberals, gays, union workers, and anyone who isn't a gun-toting, red-blooded, conservative American.

Klawiter, owner of the diesel repair shop Dieseltec in Grandville, Michigan, posted the following rant on Facebook earlier this week that is quickly on its way to becoming infamous:

Enough is enough.

Our rights as conservative Americans are being squashed more and more everyday. Apparently if you are white (or close to it), you have a job, go to church, and own a gun... That translates into racists, privileged, bigot, conspiracy theorist. Too many of us say nothing. Well, freedom of speech isn't just for Liberals, THEY are the ones that need to learn to "co-exist", THEY are the ones who need to WORK to be "equal"

Therefore, in the spirit of freedom (whats left of it) and MY right to operate MY business as I see fit:

Guns ARE allowed at DIESELTEC, so much so in fact that we will offer a discount if you bring in your gun. ("On duty" cops are excluded because thats not their gun, thats my gun bought with my money, off duty absolutely!)

I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)

We, as a team, work hard for whats ours. We are not protected by unions or contracts. We absolutely MUST provide our customers with a service level that would make them come back or tell their friends about us. We don't have a "right", and we are not "entitled" to our pay. We must EARN it.

I am not racists, you are for assuming I am, however, I am really quick to judge... if it acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

It IS a free country and I support your right to your opinion, that being said, if you don't like what I have to say I reserve that same right to tell you to go cry to your momma (cause your daddy would probably smack ya', better yet, yes, go tell your dad.)

Speaking with West Michigan's Fox 17, Klawiter elaborated on why he decided to post the pro-discrimination message:

"I made my bed I need to sleep in it. I did choose homosexuality as an example when I spoke about immoral behavior, but that's definitely become the hot button issue...I operate my life on Christian values and for me to not take that into my business I think would be hypocritical."

Klawiter added that "until there's any laws passed otherwise," he will continue to pick and choose who he does business with. Dieseltec's Facebook page can be found here

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michigan Car Repair Shop Owner 'Would Not Hesitate to Refuse Service to an Openly Gay Person' - VIDEO" »


Gay Marriage News Watch: MI, KY, OH, TN - VIDEO

Baume

Matt Baume with American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on the four briefs filed with the Supreme Court by the four states who will be defending state bans on same-sex marriage - Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

The briefs, as Baume explains, are filled with "weird claims and arguments that just don't make sense."

Dive in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: MI, KY, OH, TN - VIDEO" »


Michigan Debate Reflects New Post-Indiana Landscape On Religious Freedom, Gay Rights

Michigan's Republican governor says he will veto a proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act unless it is accompanied by a bill creating statewide LGBT protections. 

Snyder.RickBut LGBT advocates say that's not enough. They want Gov. Rick Snyder (right) to press harder for LGBT protections and veto the RFRA no matter what. 

The debate in Michigan reflects the new landscape surrounding religious freedom laws in the wake of backlash over similar measures in Indiana and Arkansas.

MLive.com reports on Snyder's veto threat:

Dave Murray, a spokesman for Snyder, said Snyder plans to veto any standalone legislation similar to the controversial law passed in Indiana this month. He would consider a RFRA bill if there was also an expansion of the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for gay people.

"Gov. Snyder has said he supports religious freedom but strongly opposes discrimination of any kind," Murray said. "He believes he should support constitutional protections and strike a balance."

He added, "Ensuring freedom of religion is a basic founding principle of our country but so is equality."

A proposal to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act died in committee last year after Democrats said they wouldn't support it because it didn't include transgender protections. Meanwhile, the author of the RFRA bill, GOP Rep. Mike Shirkey, says he will continue to push it despite veto threat. From the Associated Press

ShirkeySen. Mike Shirkey (right), a Clarklake Republican and sponsor of the religious objections bill, said Snyder's veto threat shows that he is "not too willing to have a conversation about it." The religious liberty bill and the anti-gay discrimination bill are "apples and oranges," Shirkey said, arguing that the business community's backlash over Indiana's law is "hypocritical" because 19 other states have similar laws.

"Some of these very large corporations make millions and millions of dollars selling and marketing their products in countries who have horrible civil rights environments," he said.

Shirkey said his legislation would prohibit laws and ordinances that infringe on people's "strongly held" religious beliefs and "has nothing to do with private actions" such as a business refusing to serve a customer.

Equality Michigan says Shirkey's RFRA bill is dangerous even if it is accompanied by LGBT protections. From the AP:

Equality Michigan, an LGBT advocacy group, said it "appreciates" that Snyder supports updating the 1976 civil rights law.

"However, Michigan will not benefit from a so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and packaging these bills together could still harm Michigan families and bring the type of justified uproar to Michigan that Governor Snyder is trying to avoid," executive director Emily Dievendorf said in a statement. "We call on the Governor to press harder for passage of an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and that he veto any Religious Freedom Restoration Act, regardless of what it is packaged with."

Progress Michigan added

"If the Governor is serious about his commitment against discrimination, he should demand that Attorney General Bill Schuette retract his suit in defense of Michigan's discriminatory marriage ban," Scott said, "and call on the Legislature to immediately pass an updated version of the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to protect the entire LGBT community."

In addition to the RFRA, Michigan lawmakers have introduced proposals to allow adoption agencies and hospitals to deny services based on sincerely held religious beliefs. 

In related news, Nevada's own "religious freedom" bill has been declared dead


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