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Norfolk furniture store owners boycotting North Carolina furniture market

Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 05:08:28-04

Norfolk, Va. - The owners of Decorum Furniture Store in Norfolk have a message for North Carolina's legislature.

"It's about human rights. Human dignity," Claus Ihlemann and Robert Roman, both partners and owners of Decorum, told NewsChannel 3.

The couple told Newschannel 3, their human rights were violated when North Carolina's governor passed a bill that restricts bathroom choices for transgender people. That same bill also allows business owners to deny service or employment to the LGBT community.

"It's totally ridiculous that in this day in age, we have a state government to discriminate," Ihlemann said.

So, when it came time for the annual High Point Furniture Market, the couple made a decision.

"We thought about it for about 24 hours. We talked a lot about it, and the gut feeling is we just can't go to that market. We have got to take a stand and say this is on every level wrong," he added.

They're not alone. The couple says they've gotten a huge response on social media.

"The response has been absolutely incredible supporting our decision," Ihlemann said.

They even sent the Market a Facebook message, and got a response. A spokesperson said, they do not discriminate against anyone, and the problem is with the state.

Now, the High Point area is looking at a huge economic loss with many of their usual vendors and companies refusing to attend the market.

"They're just in the crossfire of all this. They are in a state that passed a very bad law, and now they're trying to figure out how do we get out of this mess," Roman said.

As for the couple, they hope their stand will make a difference in the future.

"We want to see this law repealed. We want to see equality win," the couple said.

In the statement from the Market, officials say they're expecting hundreds and maybe thousands of customers not to attend this year.

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