Local businesses are making their political voices heard after the West Virginia House passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Paul Greco said he usually doesn’t get involved in politics but when the owner of Sam’s Uptown Cafe heard of the news out of the house he felt like he had to do something.
“We’ve always felt like this anyway. I mean this has always been our stance on stuff like this so its just kind of natural,” he said.
Greco and his staff posted on Facebook saying the business was against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they feel it discriminates against some groups of people. That post has now been seen by nearly 100 thousand people and inspired the creation of a logo they want to see shared.
“Yea we’re getting a little overwhelmed by that, it was pretty crazy,” he said.
He also owns the Boulevard Tavern and doesn’t think that having the shops views widely known will negatively affect business.
“No not at all, as a matter of fact I feel like the people that are you know are in opposition to what we are thinking probably wouldn’t even be coming around,” he said.
Supporters of the act said it’s not discriminatory, that it would protect religious freedoms of individuals. Some are just glad it’s at least sparking conversation.
“I think everybody should be involved in the political discussion,” said Paul Whitehead.
Nicole Brown is against the act and is glad to know Sam’s won’t be closing its doors to anyone.
“It kind of shows you that even though this is going on in the political world it’s not going to tear us apart,” she said.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is now in the Senate where it could be voted on later this week. The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce has also released a statement against the act. Sam’s uptown cafe said other restaurants from around the state have expressed interest in joining them.