Some highway billboards are the same wherever you go across this great land of ours: McDonald’s, Target, Walmart. Others are more regional (where is the line at which Carl’s Jr. becomes Hardee’s, anyway?). Some are particular to states, and those road-tripping through Oklahoma will likely see billboards directing them to visit online adult toy shops and to alert law enforcement about any methamphetamine use they come across. And in one small part of the state—the town of Durant, in the southeast corner—visitors and residents may now feast their eyes upon a message against marriage equality.
The plea comes from Betty and Richard Odgaard, an Iowa couple who say they recently closed their wedding business rather than perform same-sex marriages. Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, but the Odgaards and their Görtz Haus Gallery came under fire in 2013 when they refused to assist two men with their upcoming nuptials, citing their Christian beliefs, The Blaze reports. A small payout from the lawsuit, followed by boycotts and a decline in their accompanying flower and restaurant businesses, led the couple to close their doors at the end of July.
After their wedding business was shuttered, the couple established a nonprofit called God’s Original Design Ministry. They plan to place up to 1,000 anti–gay marriage billboards around the country. God’s Original Design Ministry is listed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means it doesn’t have to pay taxes on the money people send in.
The Odgaards have previously warned that people of similar belief will be unable to run their own businesses as they see fit due to antidiscrimination laws. Their website notes that their billboards “give a voice to the ‘silent majority’ ” who believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. Although polling figures showed that 61 percent of Americans supported marriage equality even before the Supreme Court ruling, the billboards—funded entirely by donations—indicate that intolerance is alive and well.
Advertising homophobia on massive street signs is nothing new, and counter billboard campaigns are ready to help.
“God Loves Gays” also shouts from the mouth of highway signs. These billboards feature an image of a smiling old man under a rainbow. Last month, the group behind the project erected its third billboard in Dearborn Heights, Michigan—in the same location where an antigay billboard previously stood. Oklahoma might be next, as God Loves Gays lists it among potential locations for its next sign.
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Original article from TakePart