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Fargo's Red Raven Espresso Parlor bans lawmakers that voted against sexual orientation discrimination bill

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The day after the North Dakota House voted down a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, public outrage is spilling over into a Fargo coffee shop. The Red Raven is hoping its own ban will give lawmakers a taste of their own medicine.

The Red Raven Espresso Parlor here may not be the type of place you'd find some of our North Dakota lawmakers anyway, but that's just part of the absurdity workers here are trying to get across.

The move to kill a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation is really grinding some gears at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor.

Joe Curry/Red Raven Owner/Worker, "It's silly to deny anybody in our community to be themselves and enjoy all the rights that I as a heterosexual white man have access to."

That's why, a day after the measure to ban discrimination failed, the Red Raven is brewing up a ban of its own. Effective immediately, if you're among those who voted against Senate Bill 2279 you'll be shut out completely from the Red Raven.

Curry, "We're soley basing that on age, gender, race, beliefs, color, religion or disability."

But no-voters can get special priveleges.

Curry, "They're welcome to come in if they're accompanied by a gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or asexual person."

Sound a little absurd? That's what many here think about the thought process of these lawmakers.

Tom Ricker/North Dakota AFL-CIO, "They're just highlighting the shamefulness of those who voted against it."

Word of the coffee shop's ban has been spreading, and even leaders from a state labor and industrial organization are stopping by for their coffe breaks.

Ricker, "We support all working people in North Dakota, and this business obviously supports all people so we want to patronize businesses that support people."

And while the Red Raven's workers don't want to discriminate, they're trying to give lawmakers a taste of their own exclusion.

Curry, "Still in this time period we're denying rights to everybody."

Reporter Catherine Ross talked with the bill's primary sponsor, Josh Boschee, today. He plans to reintroduce similar legislation next session and says he's hopeful public outrage like this will encourage lawmakers to second-guess voting no.

Catherine Ross

Catherine joined the WDAY 6 News team as a reporter and photographer in April of 2014 and is honored to bring you stories from around the Red River Valley. She grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis and got her first taste of the news industry during a high school mentorship at Fox 9 in the Twin Cities. Catherine graduated from Emerson College in Boston where she participated in the student-run TV station WEBN and spent a semester in Washington, DC working at Voice of America. Those opportunities gave her a front-row seat to the 2012 Presidential election cycle, reporting at the Iowa Caucuses, Republican National Convention and President Obama’s second inauguration. Now happy to be back closer to family, Catherine enjoys exploring the nature and culture of the upper Midwest. She’s an avid runner, novice foodie and lifelong Twins fan. If you have any story ideas or just want to say hello, Catherine would love to hear from you!

(701) 241-5313
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