Pledg­ing to be “open to all” is best way to do busi­ness

Nondis­crim­i­na­tion ini­tia­tive wants lo­cal busi­nesses to wel­come all cus­tomers

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Joe Ru­bino

On a frigid Thurs­day af­ter­noon, lo­cal busi­ness, elected and LGBTQ lead­ers gath­ered in the park­ing lot of a west Den­ver auto shop to de­clare that Colorado busi­nesses should be wel­com­ing to peo­ple of all back­grounds and iden­ti­ties.

The gath­er­ing came af­ter a U.S. Supreme Court case on whether a Lake­wood baker had the right to refuse to make a wed­ding cake for a gay cou­ple on re­li­gious grounds made Colorado the fo­cus of a na­tional de­bate over re­li­gious lib­erty ver­sus an­tidis­crim­i­na­tion law.

The Open to All Colorado ini­tia­tive is part of broader na­tional cam­paign ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing in­clu­sive­ness and nondis­crim­i­na­tion as core prin­ci­ples at lo­cal busi­nesses.

Sup­ported and spear­headed by groups in­clud­ing the Den­ver Metro Cham­ber of Com­merce, Good Busi­ness Colorado and the LGBTQ ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion One Colorado, the cam­paign asks par­tic­i­pat­ing busi­nesses to pledge to be open to all cus­tomers, hang a sign in their win­dows or ad­ver­tise their par­tic­i­pa­tion on­line and com­mit to hav­ing open dis­cus­sions about their anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion busi­ness prac­tices with cus­tomers.

“This is a mes­sage about our val­ues as a busi­ness com­mu­nity,” Den­ver Metro Cham­ber pres­i­dent and CEO Kelly Brough said at Thurs­day launch event. “This is who we are as a busi­ness com­mu­nity. Re­spect­ful, open and in­clu­sive, and we will be that way for­ever.”

Daniel Ramos, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of One Colorado, in­voked the Supreme Court case, Master­piece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Right Com­mis­sion, in his com­ments Thurs­day. He noted that the court’s nar­row rul­ing for the plain­tiff up­held Colorado’s ex­ist­ing nondis­crim­i­na­tion law.

“It’s im­por­tant that all Coloradans know that re­gard­less of who they are that busi­nesses in our state serve ev­ery­one on the same terms,” he said.

Open to All is ded­i­cated, ac­cord­ing to its web­site, to “the bedrock prin­ci­ple that when busi­nesses open their doors to the pub­lic, they should be Open to All.”

The pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion coali­tion has 200 mem­bers, in­clud­ing the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and prom­i­nent na­tional LGBTQ rights groups such as the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign, and GLAAD.

Ma­jor com­pa­nies in­clud­ing jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co., ho­tel brand Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and rideshar­ing com­pany Lyft have taken the Open to All pledge, vow­ing to pro­vide a wel­com­ing, safe en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple of all races, re­li­gions, eth­nic back­grounds, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions, gen­der iden­ti­ties and phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties.

The Open to All site in­cludes a page ded­i­cated to the Master­piece Cakeshop case.

Jim Camp­bell, se­nior coun­sel with the Al­liance De­fend­ing Free­dom and cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, said his client’s busi­ness has been and re­mains open to all.

“It’s not a mat­ter of Jack re­fus­ing to serve peo­ple, it’s a mat­ter of him de­clin­ing to make cer­tain cakes that ex­press cer­tain mes­sage or cel­e­brate cer­tain events,” that con­flict with his deeply held re­li­gious be­liefs, Camp­bell said. “He’s been asked to make cakes with anti-LGBTQ mes­sages and he has de­clined to do those.”

Thurs­day’s launch was at Gary’s Auto Ser­vice near the in­ter­sec­tion of Santa Fe Drive and West 12th Av­enue in Den­ver.

The shop’s owner, Dan Car­pen­ter, has taken the pledge.

His brother, Jimmy, was gay and died of AIDS.

“It’s sim­ply the right thing to do,” Car­pen­ter said of par­tic­i­pat­ing in Open to All Colorado. “There is no place for dis­crim­i­na­tion in this world.”

Hy­oung Chang, The Den­ver Post

Me­chanic Ese­quiel Saucedo fixes the door of a car at Gary’s Auto Ser­vice in west Den­ver on Thurs­day. Gary's Auto Ser­vice is among the busi­nesses that have taken the Open to All pledge. “It’s sim­ply the right thing to do,” says Gary’s Auto Ser­vice owner Dan Car­pen­ter. “There is no place for dis­crim­i­na­tion in this world.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.