Is GoFundMe The New Welfare For Anti-Gay Corporations?

By Todd Heywood

Political Hors D'oeuvres

Well, this is special. From the community that gave us the delightful ignorance of Dave Agema, the former state representative and current GOP national committeeman from Michigan, now we have a mechanic who has announced he won't provide service to "openly gay people."

No really. Brian Klawiter, owner of Dieseltec on Ottawa Avenue in Grandville, posted a comment on Facebook that -- among other things, like pushing the narrative of the poor, white, conservative male being oppressed -- announced he would not hesitate to provide poor service (or no service) to gays. Cause, you know... he's a Christian.

"I am a Christian," Klawiter writes on his Facebook page; grammar errors are Klawiter's, by the way. "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.)"

Not content to let the social media post fester like a MRSA boil, Klawiter eagerly went on WOOD-TV8 -- which has had its own issues with airing anti-gay documentaries -- to tout his new found bravery to stand up to the gays.

"I've chosen to put God first in my life and that he owns everything in me and my business and beyond," Klawiter told the television station. "Since that becomes a priority, I can't sacrifice on those morals."

Kudos for WOOD TV8 for noting that what Klawiter is proposing to do is completely legal in the state of Michigan. That's right, it is legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Michigan. Unless you live in one of the local municipalities that has adopted a local human rights ordinance.

An amendment to Elliott-Larsen would address this issue, however. If Michigan's odious Religious Freedom Restoration Act passes, Klawiter would be able to defend his discrimination in court, though whether he would win or not is another issue altogether.

"Klawiter's post is emblematic of too many businesses in this state where LGBTQ people's lives are constantly at risk for simply being who they are," said Yvonne Siferd, director of victim services at Equality Michigan, in a statement. "This is why we call for our representatives in Lansing to step up and modernize ELCRA to include sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. Klawiter's statement goes beyond the denial of service to LGBTQ people and our allies and includes a threat to our lives. That is contrary to our common values as Americans."

The other interesting footnote to the Grandville Oppressed Christian story is that a guy named Robert Snyder started a lovely GoFundMe fundraiser for Klawiter and his business. The page has since been removed, but one can't help but think that Klawiter was trying to cash in on the pizza crisis from Indiana. That's the case where a business owner said they would never cater a gay wedding, cause you know all the gays are clamoring for pizza at their weddings. A firestorm erupted, and the company ended up raking in close to $1 million from supporters. Klawiter clearly wants a cut of the "Woe to Us Oppressed Christians" donation machine.

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