by Kerry Dougherty
Now is the time. If you believe that cities ought to be open for business, regardless of the viewpoints of the business owners, if you support the military and don’t consider flag-waving a provocative act, you might want to let Norfolk’s City Council hear from you.
On December 12th it is scheduled to vote on the application of Armed Forces Brewery to open its doors on the same premises that housed O’Connor Brewing in the so-called Railroad District of Norfolk.
The business was lured to Virginia by Gov. Glenn Yougnkin who helped the founders secure tax incentives to open their craft brewery in Norfolk rather than in Florida. The owners have pledged that 70% of their employees will be veterans.
Normally, that would be seen as good news in this military town.
While Norfolk City staff recommended approval of a conditional use permit for the enterprise, the Planning Commission last month voted 4-2 against Armed Forces Brewing Company after about 800 opponents wrote letters to the commission, according to a story in The Virginia Mercury.
At this November’s Planning Commission meeting, opponents like Jeff Ryder, head of Hampton Roads Pride, told the commissioners the brewery’s values as expressed by O’Neill didn’t fit the neighborhood.
“We have been challenged and dismayed to see Armed Forces Brewery coming into Norfolk and don’t feel that they are a business that will support our community or be a safe place for queer folks in Norfolk,” he said, noting that “there is rising hate and unfortunately, again, an increase in violence against queer people.”
Equating a patriotic, pro-military brewery with increased violence against gays stereotypes the clientele that would be expected to frequent such a watering hole.
Excluding a business due to the viewpoint of its owners or representatives may be unconstitutional. If it’s not, it ought to be.
It will certainly spark a lawsuit or two if Norfolk City Council bends to the wishes of self-pitying, anti-military fear mongers.
Here’s something you can do: Let Norfolk City Council know that there are plenty of folks who enjoy craft beer and also support the military and the right of everyone to have opinions.
Not just the leftists.
Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.