Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams First National Company to Join Campaign
WASHINGTON – In response to the ongoing national debate surrounding so-called religious freedom bills in state legislatures, Interfaith Alliance has launched the “Everyone Only” campaign. The organization is asking businesses to place signs in their windows declaring “We Serve Everyone Only.” Local businesses across the country have begun to display the signs and home furnishings brand Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has signed on as the first national retailer to display the signs. In the coming weeks more than 20,000 signs will be mailed to Interfaith Alliance supporters across the country to share with local businesses.
“Following a national outcry, Indiana and Arkansas attempted to fix their flawed bills. Not surprisingly, the changes did not go nearly far enough to prevent the enabling of discrimination,” said Interfaith Alliance executive director, Rabbi Jack Moline. “Through Everyone Only, we will keep the pressure on leaders in Indiana, Arkansas and any other state seeking to pass this kind of flawed legislation. These signs in communities around the country will symbolize our united commitment to basic civil rights.”
States across the country, from Louisiana to Michigan, are considering new legislation that could allow people to use religious ideology to discriminate against and jeopardize the rights of American citizens. At the same time, the LGBT community, religious minorities and other vulnerable populations are working to understand what the compromises reached in Indiana and Arkansas – and similar legislation already on the books around the nation – mean for their rights. The simple reality is these laws are not needed in the first place. Businesses doing business in the public sphere, using public utilities, roads, police and other services have to be willing to serve everyone.
Interfaith Alliance encourages communities and business to make a commitment to remain open to all, in spite of any legal right to discriminate. “Everyone Only” is a campaign for business owners and community members willing to build an inclusive and welcoming environment. Already Everyone Only signs have been hung in storefronts across the country from the OpenTable Café in Owasso, Oklahoma to Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
Interfaith Alliance takes special pride in the support of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, long-time leaders in LGBT advocacy. Mitchell Gold, co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and long time ally of Interfaith Alliance, said, “I grew up in the 1960’s and remember all too well the signs that said ‘we serve whites only’ and the other visible signs of discrimination against African-Americans, minority religious groups and more. This sign is a signal to our customers and employees that we embrace serving everyone. If a gay or straight couple, or individual, walks in our store to make their house a home, we stand ready to serve them…equally!” Gold went on to add, “The people who ask for or support these discriminatory bills continue to depend on outdated and misguided teachings to justify their prejudice. The signs in our windows also mean ‘Enough!’ Too much suffering and harm has been caused in the past to innocent people because of these teachings that are not relevant in a modern and fair society.”
Learn more about Everyone Only at http://www.everyone-only.org
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.