INDIANAPOLIS,Ind (March. 13,2015)-- Central Indiana businesses are using the power of a tiny sticker to tell potential customers that they are welcome--regardless of their sexual orientation, religion or political views. Josh Driver, a local entrepreneur, founded Open for Service, a grassroots awareness movement that works to promote acceptance.
"I think it's important to have some type of designation that says I'm going to be able to come in here and not be judged for who I am or what I believe in," said Driver.
Retailers can buy the blue sticker for $10. The proceeds benefit SCORE, a non-profit that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses grow.
"It's kind of giving people an opportunity to know that they can go into that dentist office or a dog daycare and receive the same services or products that anybody else would," said Driver.
Driver says roughly 60 businesses are joining the movement across the state. He has even received interest from retailers in other major cities. There are several businesses along Mass Avenue that are already showcasing their sticker.
"My job is to love and inspire everyone who comes through the door. It's not to tell you who you need to be," said Heather Givans, owner of Crimson Tate.
While Givans has always operated her businesses with an open mind, she now has a sticker on her storefront to prove it.
"With our without the sticker, we embrace and welcome everyone," said Givans.
The stickers are popping up at the same time as controversial state legislation is on the table.
The religious freedom bill would give businesses the choice to refuse customers based on the store owners personal religious beliefs.
“This bill does not legalize discrimination in any way, shape, manner, or form. It does not pick a winner or a loser and it does not place one faith, one denomination, one belief system over another,” said State Senator Scott Schneider (R – Indianapolis), a strong supporter of the legislation.
In March of 2014 an Indianapolis bakery received heavy criticism after they refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Hopefully, people will go to Crimson Tate or Silver in the City instead of picketing a bakery," said Driver.
The bill passed the Senate last month. The House Committee will have a hearing on the bill Monday morning. Local groups who opposed the legislation have announced plans to protest at the Statehouse prior to the hearing.