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Vancouver business facing scrutiny for anti-gay comments

A Vancouver business has come under fire from LGBTQ groups and individuals for posting anti-gay comments online.

GeoPond EcoGarden Artisan, which advertises itself as Vancouver’s “home of hand crafted, one of a kind water features, ponds and concrete gardens,” is facing scrutiny for posting a slew of homophobic comments on the company’s Facebook page.

Some of the comments read: “Marriage is between man and wife. Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” and “Pedophiles r (sic) mentally ill b/c (sic) they prefer sex with children right? LGBT cultists r (sic) in the same boat.”

When contacted by Metro on Thursday, a woman who described herself as the owner of the business confirmed that she had posted the comments. The woman, who identified herself as Geena Gill but who appears to also go by the name Gea Ambrosia online, defended her comments and denied being homophobic.

“I’m far from homophobic,” she told Metro. “What I am is a Bible believing Christian. Just because social norms say that it’s OK to be gay doesn’t mean that I have to conform to social norms.”

Gill, who said she has “several” employees who “all think like I do,” went on to say she isn’t concerned about her company being affected by her comments because her business “spreads through word of mouth.”

By Thursday afternoon, phone calls to the company’s listed phone number went straight to voicemail. However, homophobic comments continued to appear on the company’s Facebook page later in the day, including a comment that it would no longer do business with members of the LGBTQ community “from this day forward.”

While the comments are shocking, Dara Parker, executive director of queer resource centre Qmunity, said she wasn’t surprised to read them.

Although great strides have been made toward expanding LGBTQ equality across Canada, Parker said the comments reveal that homophobia and transphobia are still “alive and well.”

“I think in urban progressive Vancouver, folks sometimes think that all of the work has been done,” she said. “But every day, Canadian families are still struggling to understand and accept these communities. These are views that people are still willing to put their names to and to stake a business on.”

Parker said the comments highlight a continuing need for LGBTQ community centres like Qmunity to exist and to “challenge these really, really dangerous views.”

“For me it’s just a representation of exactly why that teenager in Maple Ridge or South Vancouver or Dawson Creek is terrified to come out of the closet, because attitudes like this still exist,” she said. “There’s still consistent messaging that’s telling people that we’re wrong, that God doesn’t love us, that we should be ashamed of how we were born.”

Vancouver Pride Society communications coordinator Cynthia Williams said the comments show a need for LGBTQ advocacy groups to continue educating the public and “being loud and proud.”

Williams said she believes the public will "hold this business accountable."

“There’s many voices out there who are supportive of the LGBTQ community and our allies," she said. "I’d rather give a platform to those voices and hear what they have to say than listen to any discriminatory comments.”

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