The Family Foundation said progressives were “recreat[ing] an environment from the 1950s and early 60s, when people were denied food service due to their race.” A Virginia restaurant recently decided to cancel the reservation of a conservative Christian group that opposes marriage equality and abortion rights because many of the eatery’s workers are women and/or LGBTQ+ people. In response, the Christian group compared the move to the *checks notes* age of segregation. On November 30, Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond, Virginia, accepted a group reservation but then canceled it once they learned it was for The Family Foundation, a non-profit that “advocate[s] for policies based on Biblical principles.”
The restaurant wrote in an Instagram post that the reservation was for “a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia.” The post continues: “We have always refused service to anyone for making our staff uncomfortable or unsafe and this was the driving force behind our decision…All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment.” In a subsequent post, Metzger said it would donate proceeds of a cocktail to the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Equality Virginia.
Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb took to the group’s blog with a post titled, “We’ve Been Canceled! Again,” and had the audacity to compare the situation to the whites-only lunch counters of the 1950s:
Welcome to the 21st century, where people who likely consider themselves “progressives” attempt to recreate an environment from the 1950s and early 60s, when people were denied food service due to their race. Thankfully, in 1960, 34 brave Virginia Union University students held a peaceful lunch counter sit-in at Thalhimers Department store in Richmond to demand service at a whites-only counter.
It’s darkly funny that Cobb invoked segregation as the eventual decision in 303 Creative could literally set this country back decades. That’s because the Supreme Court accepted the case on free speech grounds, not religious grounds, so businesses could hypothetically refuse service to interracial couples, or Black people more generally, or Muslim people, or Jewish people. We’re looking at a possible free speech exemption from civil rights laws—but sure, go ahead and cry about cancel culture.