Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Grimes, IA: Owners of Anti-Gay Gortz Haus Gallery Sold Building to Harvest Bible Fellowship

I wrote back in June that the Gortz Haus Gallery over in Grimes, IA, was going to be closing. This was a business that got in trouble with the Iowa Civil Right Commission after someone filed a discrimination complaint on the basis of sexual orientation. The case dragged on for a while and eventually the case was settled last year. The Gortz Haus' owners paid $5,000 to the couple that they had discriminated against and they agreed to stop discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation. Which they did in January 2015 by ceasing all wedding ceremonies. But the business struggled without the wedding income, so they closed.

The business' owners, Dick and Betty Odgaard, had previously announced that they were in the process of selling the property to a church community. They just announced that the sale went through and now the property belongs to an evangelical, nondenominational church called Harvest Bible Fellowship:
Pastor Ryan Jorgenson said the transient church, which has grown to about 170 members since opening two years ago, wanted to find a permanent home, rather than the temporary event space it has been using. He said the building's history couldn't be ignored. But the baggage wasn't necessarily seen as a detriment.

"We fully support the stand that the Odgaards have made with their building and with their business," Jorgenson said. "But our biggest thing by far is we want to be known as a church that loves Jesus. We preach and teach the Bible fully. We want to be a blessing to our community."
In other words, the church opposes gay families.

They can use the property for weddings and discriminate against same-sex couples now if they want. But that's okay, because they are a church and not a commercial business.

By the way, the Odgaard family might not be able to sustain a business, but they can afford multiple billboard campaigns preaching against gay families. They have two billboards up in Oklahoma and in Arizona (but not Iowa) and will soon have a third billboard up in North Carolina. They hope to erect 1000 billboards advocating against gay families.

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