Generally, I like to think my fellow Michiganders are inherently good people, but then something like this surfaces. Brian Klawiter, the owner of an automotive repair shop called Dieseltec in Grandville, MI, says he will "not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons." In fact, according to WOOD TV in western Michigan, he goes on to say, "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." Oh yeah, this guy's a real charmer.
Klawiter originally wrote all of this on Dieseltec's public Facebook page, where the post gained traction with folks in the local community, as well as abroad. And while I could spend an entire day dissecting every poorly constructed, hate-filled line, I'll let Klawiter's own words speak for themselves (verbatim from the Facebook page):
"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.)"
Speaking to WOOD, Klawiter understands that the post could be viewed as offensive, but he has no regrets in publishing it. "If you have a vehicle that needs to be repaired, we'd be happy to do that for you," he told the news channel. "But if you want to come in here with your boyfriend and you want to openly display that, that's just not going to be tolerated here. We don't believe that here."
Michigan does not yet have a statewide law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some cities near Grandville – Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids, namely – have already put ordinances in place that prohibit this activity. WOOD spoke to Grandville's mayor, who says he's open to discussing a similar law in his city, should residents ask for it.
Sexual orientation discrimination has been a hot-button topic lately, especially in the state of Indiana. But automakers like Subaru have taken steps in the right direction to combat this issue, with the company issuing a formal statement saying that while it does have manufacturing operations in Indiana, it absolutely does not support any sort of discrimination in the workplace. I can only hope that, someday, all companies follow suit, whether they be large, global automakers, or local repair shops in small Michigan towns.