After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, one shop owner is celebrating the decision by posting a “No Gays Allowed” sign above his shop door once again.
Jeff Amyx, owner of a Grainger County hardware store in East Tennessee, wasn’t happy with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal. At the time, he had posted the same sign above his door to ensure anybody walking through the doors of his store knew his beliefs.
Amyx recently re-hung the sign above his door after what he calls a “win” when the Supreme Court unexpectedly ruled in favor of a baker who refused to bake a cake for the wedding of a same sex couple.
Here’s what you need to know about Amyx:
1. Amyx Originally Hung the “No Gays Allowed” Sign After the Supreme Court Legalized Gay Marriage in 2015
Amyx, who owns and operates Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee., hung the “No Gays Allowed” sign after the 2015 SCOTUS ruling, stating that gay and lesbian couples are against his religion, according to USA Today.
Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, told USA Today that he realized LGBT people are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, so he wanted to show others that Christian people should also be brave enough to stand up for their beliefs.
“They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.
Amyx removed the “No Gays allowed” sign shortly after the ruling and instead replaced it with a sign that says: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion.”
2. Amyx Says that Christianity is “Under Attack” and that Dark Days Are Coming for Christians Everywhere
Amyx says that Monday’s ruling in favor of the baker was a surprise for him, according to WBIR 10. “I was shocked. I was really shocked because of the track record of our Supreme Court,” Amyx said.
However, Amyx still worries about the next case making it to the Supreme Court, despite the favorable ruling regarding the baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple.
“Christianity is under attack. This is a great win, don’t get me wrong, but this is not the end, this is just the beginning,” Amyx said. “Right now we’re seeing a ray of sunshine. This is ‘happy days’ for Christians all over America, but dark days will come.”
3. Amyx Started Selling Homophobic Bumper Stickers & Hats After the 2015 Ruling
Although Amyx had already posted his sign on his shop, he decided to spread his message by going one step further and creating merchandise emblazoned with homophobic epithets, local ABC affiliate WATE-TV 6 reports.
Amyx sold hats and bumper stickers in his shop that read “Choose God or Gays” and “No Gays Allowed,” according to WATE.
Amyx told WATE that he decided to start selling the merchandise at the request of his customers, and claimed he sold out of the first shipment of hats shortly after putting them on the shelf. He sold the hats for $5 and bumper stickers for 50 cents. He was also considering adding t-shirts, he told the station.
“I’m just doing it because people have asked me for it,” said Amyx.
“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” he added. ”I just don’t agree with their lifestyle. I don’t want any part of it, I don’t want it around me and I’ll never agree with it.”
Amyx’s Facebook page is filled with pictures of himself giving sermons, supportive cartoons of President Trump, Jesus, and a picture of an outhouse with a sign stating “Transgender Bathroom: Out of Service Indefinitely.”
4. Although Amyx Received Hate Mail for His Sign, He Claims That It Brought More People In to the Store
According to WATE, Amyx said he received “bundles” of hate mail after he posted the controversial “No Gays Allowed” sign outside his store in Washburn. However, he also claims that the sign has brought even more people in to the store in support of his message.
Amyx also hung up a white board asking people to sign their names if they supported his store and his right to turn away people if they conflict with his religious beliefs.
Others in the community were hurt by the message, stating that his signs and the merchandise he sells only serves to discourage and attack those who identify as LGBT in the community, especially those who identify as LBGT and Christian.
“This is definitely hurtful. The fact that he is selling merchandise that is saying “choose God or Gays.” It doesn’t really help those who are Christian and identify as LGBT as myself,” said Gwen Schablik with the Tennessee Equality Project. She adds that there are there are numerous businesses that support lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights through their Tennessee Open for Business program, WATE reports.
5. Amyx Claims that He Doesn’t Hate People, He Hates Sin
Stewart Harris, associate director of the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy at Lincoln Memorial University, said the court’s opinion and decision on the baker case was narrow, stating that it only pertains to the case of the baker and “doesn’t dive into the larger issues many people expected the case to resolve,” according to WBIR 10.
“There’re two very important constitutional issues here at least. On one side, you’ve got equality. It actually came to us in the form of a state statute, but still the idea is that the law has to treat everyone equally. On the other side, you’ve got the freedom of religion and freedom of expression,” Harris said. “Of all those issues, the only one they even sort of tangentially addressed was free exercise of religion.”
The Supreme Court said in the case against the baker, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed “clear and impermissible hostility” toward the baker’s religious beliefs.
“Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion specifically said that we’re going to have to resolve these issue in another case,” Harris said. “Once they have that, then the issues will be squarely in front of them, or at least some issues will be squarely in front of them and perhaps they can resolve something that will help the rest of us come to a consensus on the difficult questions.”
Although Amyx is happy with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the baker case, he wants to make sure one thing is clear: “I don’t hate people. It’s not the people I hate, it’s the sin that I hate.” He simply asks for respect, which in turn he says he’ll show if a customer is homosexual. “Well I might preach to you a little while,” said Amyx.