The Tennessee hardware store owner who made headlines for displaying a "No Gays Allowed" sign in his shop has gone a step further by creating merchandise emblazoned with homophobic epithets.
Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Washburn, Tennessee, has printed hats and bumper stickers that read "Choose God or Gays" and "No Gays Allowed," local ABC affiliate WATE 6-TV reports.
Amyx, who is reportedly also a Baptist minister, told the station that he decided to produce the merchandise at the request of his customers. He also claimed he's already sold out of the first shipment of hats, which went for $5 each, and the 50-cent bumper stickers, and is thinking of adding T-shirts to the line.
“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” he said. ”I just don’t agree with their lifestyle. I don’t want any part of it, I don’t want it around me and I’ll never agree with it.”
Amyx came under fire from a number of LGBT rights advocates in June, when news of his "No Gays Allowed" sign broke. Days later, he reportedly replaced the sign with a new one that read, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion."
He told WATE 6-TV he wasn't worried about how the sign would impact business at his store, and said, “I don’t hate people. It’s not the people I hate, it’s the sin that I hate.”
As to how he'd react if a customer identified themselves as LGBT, he said, “Well, I might preach to you a little while.”
Among those critical of both signs was North Jersey Pride Executive Director C.J. Prince, who argued that Amyx's behavior was founded on the "narcissistic assumption that gay folks are dying to get into any straight club that doesn't want them" in a blog for HuffPost Gay Voices.
Still, she applauded Amyx's claims that the signs were simply him exercising his freedom of speech, and wrote, "Then I'll exercise my capitalist right to shop from your competitor -- and to proudly put my money where my allies are."
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