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Founders Brewing says it isn't leaving the Grand Rapids Chamber

October 1, 2018
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Founders Brewing Co. taproom
People fill up the beer garden seating at Founders Brewing Co.'s taproom in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

Founders Brewing Co. is staying a member of the Grand Rapids Chamber after all.

After a statement was issued on Founders Brewing’s social media pages last month regarding ending its membership with the Grand Rapids Chamber due to the chamber’s endorsement for governor of Michigan, the company said last week the posts were “unauthorized.”

Grand Rapids-based Founders issued a statement last week saying the company “supports equality in business and community,” but it does not endorse any political candidates and will not end its two-decade chamber membership.

The Facebook and Twitter posts, which have since been deleted, were in response to the chamber’s endorsement of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette for governor of Michigan.

In July, Schuette issued an opinion invalidating a state commission’s interpretation that the state civil rights law prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people. He said only the state Legislature can expand those protections.

The deleted Founders post read: "We stand with our LGBTQ community and ask that the Grand Rapids Chamber reverse their decision. We will be terminating our membership in the meantime and encourage our fellow local businesses to consider doing the same."

The declaration was one of several like it made by organizations in the area.

Andy Johnston, VP of government and corporate affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber, said today, “We’re pleased to continue our relationship with Founders. We look forward to working with them and all of our members to advance the business interests of our community.”

Schuette did not respond to inquiry from the Business Journal but, according to reports, said at the West Michigan Policy Forum last week: “There can be no discrimination of any kind.”

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