The owner of a Canadian jewelry store who posted a sign defending traditional marriage inside of his store is under attack, reportedly receiving threats, demands for refunds and intense public scrutiny.
Today's Jewellers in Newfoundland recently came under fire after a lesbian couple went in and ordered custom engagement rings. But unlike other cases in the U.S. in which businesses have declined wedding-related services to same-sex couples, the jeweler happily served the women.
It wasn't until Nicole White and Pam Renouf referred friends to the store, though, that they noticed a sign that read, "The sanctity of marriage is under attack. Let's keep marriage between a man and a woman," according to the Rebel's Brian Lilley.
One of those friends was a woman named Holly Ivany-Ryan, who took a photo of the sign and posted it to Facebook, explaining that White and Renouf were frustrated after they learned that the pro-traditional marriage message was posted.
That said, White told CBC that the business never discriminated against them when it came to designing the rings.
"They were great to work with. They seemed to have no issues. They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple," White recently told the outlet. "I referred some of my friends to them, just because I did get some good customer service and they had good prices."
Despite good customer service, White said that she was frustrated over the sign, so she went back to the store to ask about it.
"It was really upsetting. Really sad, because we already had money down on [the rings], and they're displaying how much they are against gays, and how they think marriage should be between a man and a woman," White said. "They just said that that's their beliefs, and they think they can put up whatever they want. I just said it was very disrespectful, it's very unprofessional and I wanted a refund."
Following public scrutiny, Today's Jewellers co-owner Esau Jardon has agreed to give them a refund on their downpayment for the rings.
This comes after the sign gained a great deal of attention, with Lilley claiming that the store has received threats and has been forced to return money since the media began covering the spat.
Jardon, who isn't apologizing for espousing his beliefs, told the CBC that he regularly posts his religious views on signs in the store and that he hasn't had complaints in the past, adding that the sign about marriage was posted for Mother's Day.
"Nothing in that shop or in these posters is against the law ... there's nothing there that means to discriminate or to hate anybody else," he told CBC. "I feel really bad that [White] feels that we would in any way try to hurt or discriminate against her, but we will not retract from what we believe. I cannot say, 'Well because you feel bad, I will stop believing what I believe.'"
Jardon told the Telegram that he has received threats over the past few days as well and that many people have expressed wanting the jewelry shop to shut down. He said that one anonymous threat that was issued before he agreed to refund the couple read, "You better give them the money back or you will be very, very sorry."
(H/T: The Rebel)