By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The owners of Cody backcountry outfitting store are asking those who believe in bigotry or hate others not to patronize their store.
The Facebook posting by Sunlight Sports owners Wes and Melissa Allen came in response to reports that a same-sex couple in Wapiti were harassed for their sexual orientation last week.
The Allens took to their business Facebook page this week to condemn those who believe in bigotry, telling any potential customers that if they hate others for reasons such as sexual orientation, color or religion, they are not welcome in the store.
“If you hate your neighbors so much for who they are – who they love, the color of their skin, where they were born, where they worship, or any of the other things that make up that person – that you need to treat them differently or harass them or make them feel unsafe in their own home, don’t come into our business,” the owners wrote.
Last week, a same-sex couple in Wapiti were told by five of their neighbors that they weren’t welcome. The Park County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the encounter.
The Allens noted in their post that Wyoming has good people, amazing geography and unlimited freedom, all reason they live in the state and have run the store for more than a decade.
The business owners commended the Cody community, saying its members have been “exceptionally good” to the business since the Allens took over.
“Make no mistake – we believe that 99% of [Park] county residents are good people,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, recent events have reminded us that some of them aren’t good people. Some of our neighbors are broken. They feel that it’s OK to let their hate spill out in a way that makes this a worse place to live for everyone, but especially for people that are different in some way from them.
As a family, as a business, and as part of the community we now feel like it’s our responsibility to stand up and say that what these broken people are doing is not OK in this community.”
The Allens pointed out Wyoming’s “live and let live” attitude and how Wyomingites tended to judge people on their actions, not how they were born.
The Allens encouraged anyone who positively contributed to Park County and Wyoming’s way of life to come in, say “hi” and shop with them.
However, if a customer feels the need to judge people on the way they were born, they are unwelcome in the store, the Facebook posting said.
“If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of who they love, stay out,” they wrote. “If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of what color they are, stay out. If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of where they were born, stay out. If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of their spiritual life, stay out.
“If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because they are different than you, stay out.” the posting continued. “It would be fine if we never saw you again. Your hate is not welcome here. Everyone else, come on in.”