By the time you read this, we might be at war with Canada, or Trump may have invited Kim Jong Un for a sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom. Anything could happen! We’re living in the most dangerous reality show ever televised. And the most hateful people are feeling more emboldened than ever.
Which brings me to Jeff Amyx, owner and proprietor of Amyx Hardware and Roofing Supplies in Washburn, Tenn., and his crudely scrawled “No gays allowed” sign in his store window. He originally hung the sign after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could legally marry. Though some news reports claimed that Amyx put the sign “back up” following the Court’s “gay cake” ruling, it’s not clear that he ever took the sign down. It’s possible he just doubled down on his message by adding more signage.
Many things bother me about this sign, but one thing that’s missing comments on enough is its ugliness. I mean, yes, it’s figuratively ugly. But I’m talking literally.
Keep in mind that I’ve never been to his store. For one thing, it’s in Tennessee, and I’m not. For another, well, the owner is a hateful person. But I have the magic of the interwebs.
So from the photos, the anti-gay sign is taped to the glass of the store’s entrance. It’s on a white sheet of office-size paper with “No gays allowed” handwritten in black marker. The letters unevenly spaced and the width of the marker strokes lack uniformity. So definitely no points for presentation.
Compare this to the banner hanging below his store’s roadside sign that reads, “God destroyed all the SODOMITES for an EXAMPLE. 2nd Peter 2:6.” The banner leaves a lot to be desired though clearly done by a professional sign-making entity. It’s of the same colors and font used in the Amyx store sign above it. While I can appreciate the stylistic continuity, the anti-gay message could use a splash of color to make it “Pop”.
And speaking of color, there’s a smaller red-and-white sign hanging from the bottom of the sodomites banner that reads, “Now mixing paint.” It’s extremely confusing. I mean, if the only sign above it read “Amyx Hardware and Roofing Supplies” then the meaning of the paint sign would be clear: this is a hardware store, and we mix paint. But the paint sign separated from the store sign by the sodomites banner muddies the context. So I find myself wondering, “What are the gays doing with paint? Does this have something to do with the rainbow? There a prohibition about mixing in Leviticus, but isn’t it about mixing fabrics?” In other words, there is a real lack of message continuity.
But the effort is there. Clearly, the sodomites banner took some planning and money, while the “No gays allowed” sign is a slapdash embarrassment.
Also worth noting, that according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump is fine with shop owners putting up signs refusing gays. It is, of course, not the first time Trump has nodded approval to something lacking in quality or grace.
But to be fair to Amyx, the nearest Hobby Lobby looks to be about 30 miles away according to Google Maps. That said, it’s a hardware store! It sells paint (mixed, even!), brushes, rulers, duct tape (which comes in many colors and patterns these days), adhesives, lighting, and fasteners of all kinds. Anything you could conceivably need to make an impressive sign is available to him at cost. In other words, Amyx had everything he needed to #BeBest, but he didn’t.
And Jesus wept.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.