Sunday, August 2, 2015

The source of those obnoxious billboards

Turns out that the new crop of anti-gay billboards are not a message from God (presumably you already knew that). Rather, they have been spawned by an Iowa couple that we have seen before. Almost two years ago, to the day, Brian Brown was pimping the Odgaards on behalf of National Organization for Marriage. The unfortunately named husband and wife are the owners of a wedding venue called Gortz Haus. Brown pulled out a hanky and wrote:
Many of these Christians are now being asked, cruelly, to choose between their faith and their families' livelihoods. The latest case to emerge is in Grimes, Iowa. The Odgaards, husband and wife owners of Gortz Haus, were too honest to lie when a gay male couple showed up and tried to book their venue for their wedding ceremony. Mr. Odgaard asked if they were looking for a place for a gay wedding. When told "Yes" he said, "I can't take your money and I don't do things for free."
“Too honest to lie?” Perhaps too eager to demonstrate their disapproval of gay people. As they (or spokesperson) tell the story at a crowd funding site:
Almost immediately [after remodeling the space] , they were approached by a lesbian couple requesting wedding services. The Odgaards declined based upon their deep religious convictions about marriage. For five years they hosted many weddings and wedding receptions at the Görtz Haus. Then, In 2013, they respectfully declined to provide wedding and reception services to another gay couple for the same reason; their beliefs had not changed.
These imbeciles are always “respectfully” turning away people, informing them that “we don't serve your kind here.” Respectful bigotry?

They continue with their “woe is us!”
Within 24 hours the couple filed a discrimination complaint against them through the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. This was accompanied by an immediate and unbelievable firestorm of hate from the gay community and their supporters, unmanageable phone calls, emails and Facebook posts resulted in their business suffering significantly. Within days, two booked wedding and reception events cancelled, to which the Odgaards responded by fully refunding deposits.
Just because they got away with it once doesn't mean that they were going to get away with discrimination a second time. Yet even in conservative rural Iowa people were offended:
Unable to fill those dates on short notice, that business was lost. Walk-in business dropped by 50%. New customers arrived in support, but a dramatic number of regular customers, including groups, disappeared. Many who supported them privately were reluctant to do so publicly, resulting in lost business even from supporters.
Skipping past a bunch of boo-hoo, they closed the doors on July 31.


Sometime over the last year or so they started Gods Original Design Ministry. Their IRS ruling letter is from 2015.

The Odgaards have also designed a flyer. They are encouraging supporters to reproduce it and paper cars in church parking lots:


What is it that these people hope to achieve other than shaming gay couples? They are debating a settled issue. I asked them that question by email. Thus far, no reply. No surprise although I did ask very neutrally using a plain Gmail account. If I get a response, I'll update the post.

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