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Michigan auto shop offers gun-toting customers a discount—but no gays allowed

Dieseltec trucks

They’re really coming out of the woodwork now.

Invoking religion and his conservative principles, the owner of a Michigan auto repair shop announced over Facebook on Tuesday that customers carrying guns will receive a discount—unless they’re gay or on-duty police officers.

Brian Klawiter, proprietor of the Dieseltec shop of Grandville, Mi., declared that, in the “spirit of freedom,” he would “not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons.”

“Our rights as conservative Americans are being squashed more and more everyday,” Klawiter lamented. “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.” 

(Klawiter says on-duty police officers are also excluded “because that’s not their gun, thats [sic] my gun bought with my money.” Off-duty police are “absolutely” welcome, he says.)

Luckily for Dieseltec, there are plenty of lawmakers in Michigan that share in his perspective, or at least some of it. The state is currently considering its own “religious freedom” law to mirror that of Indiana’s, which, consequently, resulted in an enormous public relations crisis, the loss of millions of dollars in development and convention business, and a significant drop in Gov. Mike Pence’s approval ratings.

“What happened in Indiana was perfectly predictable,” state Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), who is cosponsoring the Michigan bill, told the Detroit Free Press. “There are people who are misinterpreting the [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] legislation for their own agenda.”

The Indiana legislation has been widely criticized because it diverges in multiple ways from a federal law signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993. One of the chief differences is that Indiana’s law grants businesses, which are not covered under the federal law, the ability to invoke religious beliefs as a legal defense in court when the conflict does not involve the government—in other words, when it only involves private entities, such as a business and a citizen.

Pence repeatedly denied any difference between the law he signed and the one Clinton signed over twenty years ago. Yet, dozens of legal scholars who compared the two bills up confirmed that was totally inaccurate.

Similarly, Pence denied the bill was intended to target gay couples, who can legally marry in Indiana as of last year. The top anti-gay lobbyists, who were invited to bill signing ceremony and stood directly behind Pence in several photographs, disagreed with the governor’s assessment. Celebrating the “victory,” one wrote: “Churches, Christian businesses, and individuals deserve protection from those who support homosexual marriages and those who support government recognition and approval of gender identity (men who dress as women).”

“I’m confident that people are vehemently supportive of making sure that government doesn’t infringe on religious freedom,” Shirkley told the Free Press. He hopes the Michigan Senate will bring the bill to a vote this spring, a sentiment probably shared by Dieseltec auto-repair shop.

“Homosexuality is wrong, period,” Klawiter continued in his post on the Dieseltec Facebook page. “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.”

His company statement concluded (punctuation unaltered): “I am not racists, you are for assuming I am, however, I am really quick to judge… if it acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck… It IS a free country and I support your right to your opinion, that being said, if you don’t like what I have to say I reserve that same right to tell you to go cry to your momma (cause your daddy would probably smack ya’, better yet, yes, go tell your dad.)”

Well, okay then. Point, uh, made?

Photo via dieseltecgr.com | Remix by Jason Reed

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.