After Arkansas passed a law that could allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination, he posted a hilarious sign.

Mike Carron's restaurant, The Cork & Keg, had only been open about seven weeks when Arkansas passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Some feel that that law, similar to the law that recently caused a major uproar in Indiana, would make it easier for businesses to turn away LGBTQ customers in the name of "religious freedom."

Even though they were a new restaurant just getting on their feet, Carron, his wife Virginia, and son Jaron were among those who felt that this bill could lead to discrimination in their home state. And they couldn't let that stand.

"Many who discriminate against the LGBT community, including some of the legislators that voted for this bill, say that being gay is a choice, which I personally do not believe," said Mike Carron when I spoke to him via Facebook. "I do know that discrimination in any form is a choice."


He posted this sign on their window:

Photo via Imgur.

Though the sign is clearly tongue-in-cheek, to Carron, the new Arkansas law is no joke.

"Anyone who comes in my business is welcome. To my knowledge, no legislators have been in, and in actuality I'd serve them too."

And his statement is bigger than just one bill in one state.

"Our sign is more than a statement about being LGBT friendly," Carron said. "To us it's the recognition of the worth and dignity of all, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Discrimination and intolerance against any segment of society is to the detriment of all."

If you're in the Fayetteville, Arkansas, area, please show the Carrons some support and stop by! Rumor has it they serve two dozen quality wines, 12 local craft beers, and a cocktail called the Arkansas Mule, which is "made with Arkansas vodka, muddled limes, ginger beer and rhubarb bitters."

Which sounds kind of like heaven. Dipped in heaven. In a glass. (Please drink responsibly!)

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

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