Monday, June 25, 2012

Gay? Gay-Friendly? Stay Away From The University Club In Moline, Illinois

Taylor Shumaker was looking for a space to rent in Moline, Illinois for a reception. She was given the name of the University Club, and called to see about availability. She spoke with the bar manager, Kristen Stewart, who offered to give her a tour of the facilities, and inquired about Shumaker's fiancé, asking if 'he' was coming.

Taylor Shumaker replied, "No, it’s not actually a ‘he’, it’s a ‘she."

And that was that. Kristen Stewart responded, "Oh, we don’t rent to homosexual couples."

Stewart, wife of the president of the University Club, and daughter-in-law of its owners, confirms she refused to let the couple see or rent the space for a reception because of her religious beliefs: “I am a biblical Christian and I do not believe in homosexual marriage, that’s correct. And because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them into or celebrate that sin.”

For her part, Taylor Shumaker is more hurt than angry: “I cried when I got off the phone because, honestly, I wouldn’t have called there if I knew it was their policy.  If it would have been on the website from the very beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. She just said it was a religious belief. That was the end of the conversation.”

Stewart says her family discussed the issue of gay marriage receptions shortly after neighboring state Iowa approved same-sex marriage and Illinois endorsed civil unions: “My husband’s family does not hold the same view. If there is a homosexual couple I will pass them on to them. I have told him if they want to do homosexual receptions I would not have any part of that. He and his family have decided they will.”

So, is it just Kirsten Stewart who is the homophobe? Apparently so, because her husband, Perry Stewart, says his wife “mis-spoke” to Taylor Shumaker and there is no ban on same-sex marriages at his banquet hall.

Um, but she didn't rent them the hall, and it doesn't seem that Perry Stewart bothered to call Shumaker back and tell her she would be welcome at the University Club.

Taylor and her partner of three years are looking for another venue, and she holds no ill will toward the University Club: “They specifically said they do not rent to homosexual couples. They’re entitled to their personal beliefs.”

Okay, so here we go again. If you don't like The Gays because of your own personal religious beliefs, well, bully for you; and if, you are a business owner who refuses to do business with The Gays, well, double bully for you. But don’t hide it. Put it in a sign on your front door: Straights Only. Make it a prominent feature of your website: No Gays Allowed.

See, if you do that, when The Gays and our allies find your company and we see your homophobia and intolerance and bigotry and hatred masked behind the shroud of religion, we’ll take our business elsewhere.

And before you holier-than-thou asshats jump all over me for this, let me ask you a question: you come into my rental space and try to book it for an event and I ask about your religious beliefs and you tell me you're a Christian, or a Jew, or, whatever. How would you feel if I looked you dead in the eye and said, "I don't rent to Christians?" How might you feel if the Muslim owner refused to rent to a Jewish couple? How might you feel if a Catholic man said no to a Baptist man?

See, it doesn't feel good, does it? And it isn't right. And, in Illinois, it's against the law.

So the ACLU is looking into the University Club’s homophobic policies no matter how much Perry Stewart tries to cover for his wife.

University Club president Perry Stewart now says that his wife, was mistaken: "We have an open door policy, and we always have." 

And he says he spoke with Taylor Shumaker, apologized to her, and asked if she wanted to see the building. Taylor Shumaker declined.
And I don't blame her.

Kristen Stewart says she has nothing more to say about the incident, but her husband said she had "personal convictions" that meant she would not participate in same-sex events: "I will handle all same-sex inquiries," he said. "This was the first call that we've got, and, frankly, it took Kristen by surprise, and she had a brain-freeze and misspoke."

It didn't seem like a brain-freeze at all. She made herself clear to Shumaker and made herself even clearer to reporters who called her.

Maybe the University Club would do better by simply letting Kristen Stewart retire.


the dogs mother said...

sheesh - money, people, money!

mistress maddie said...

Well, I'm all for a good game of shits and giggles. I say we go back tonight and release a box of hundreds of cockroaches to decend upon the joint. Who's in?

BloggerJoe said...

Hope you don't mind but I posted the link to my FB page so 81 more people will see it! said...

Kristen Stewart is a narrow-minded simpleton and a very bad businessperson at that. Hopefully, her "personal convictions" will send potential customers running to other venues in the area.

The laws of supply and demand truly do work.