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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Anti-Gay-Marriage Owners of a Sellwood Market Made a Donation. So Everything's Fine.

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 10:29 AM

At least one of the owners of a soon-to-open market in Sellwood opposes gay marriage, saying it could lead to bigamy and pedophilia, and says her business should have the right to decline to serve anyone she chooses, including gay people. We talked about all that last week.

What's new in the ongoing drama around the Moreland Farmers Pantry is that now the owners—despite several entrenched Facebook posts opposing gay couples' right to marry—have made a "sizable donation" to the Equity Foundation, a local advocacy group. That's according to Sean O'Riordan, a Sellwood resident who first drew attention to the situation in a seven-minute YouTube video he's since removed.

The owners, John and Chauncy Childs, reached out to O'Riordan last week, even before the city's media grabbed onto the story, he wrote in a post to the Sellwood, Oregon, Facebook page.

On the morning of April 3rd, John Childs, one of the owners of the Moreland Farmer’s Pantry came to my home, introduced himself and asked if we could have a conversation. I found Mr. Childs to be a man who is sincere in his beliefs and passionate in discussion.

Although he and I fundamentally disagree on several issues, we were not disagreeable in our discussions. Mr. Childs asserted that he understood our family’s position and assured us that neither he nor his wife nor their business would ever discriminate toward their customers.

Mr. Childs realized that words had been spoken and it was time for action.

And O'Riordan quotes an email John Childs sent along, which partly says.

As I mentioned in our conversation, neither Chauncy nor I have a discriminatory bone in our bodies. We abhor discrimination in any form. But what we abhor more than that is anyone imposing their will on someone else even when they are in the right.

I believe our post said that "of course a business can discriminate against gay people". I apologize, we probably could have chosen a better subject to express the view that we should not restrict anyone's right to free speech and expression, even when we disagree with them. Other businesses and people can discriminate as much as they want, but to their detriment. Our business does not and will not discriminate.
We understand how this post could have been interpreted as anti-gay but I assure you that was not our intention in the least.

O'Riordan clarifies that, while he appreciated the dialogue with Childs, it's not enough to convince him to shop at the market.

Wait, you mean insincerely throwing money around to buy PR points doesn't always work?

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