Prizm News / February 5, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Adams Street businesses vows to keep the Downtown district a welcoming place.
By Bob Vitale
A church that lists homosexuality, bisexuality and gender dysphoria as sins comparable to incest and bestiality has bought the building that housed Toledo’s oldest gay bar until late December.
Former Bretz owner Michelle Woda said in a Facebook post in December that she “was approached with an offer to sell the business, along with the building, to an undisclosed buyer. Woda said the bar had been losing money for “quite some time.”
In a statement issued Friday, the Greater Toledo House of Prayer disclosed itself as that buyer but said it had nothing to do with Bretz’s closing on Dec. 21.
“Public statements have been made suggesting that GTHOP was itself involved in the closing of the nightclub, however this is not accurate,” the church said.
“Due to an increased need for space, GTHOP started a search for a new facility. In October 2017, the ministry became aware that the Adams Street building was available for sale, then toured the building and determined the space would work well for the group.”
The Blade of Toledo reported that the religious group bought the building at 2012 Adams St., for $148,000 through a trustee, the Midland Agency of Northwest Ohio Inc.
The transaction has many upset.
On its website, the Greater Toledo House of Prayer lists beliefs that “oppose and prohibit living in, practicing, condoning, or supporting sex outside of marriage, adultery, homosexuality, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, gender identity different than the birth sex chromosomal level, pornography, or other sexual immorality.”
The group cites an early visit to the International House of Prayer — an organization whose leader praised 2014 efforts in Uganda to make homosexuality punishable by life in prison — as part of its history and inspiration.
Toledo City Council member Nick Komives, who is openly gay, said he’s “insulted by this move,” but he also said it’s one that can’t be blocked.
Komives said the community must hold the church accountable, though.
“If we hear of them practicing conversion therapy or other archaic forms of anti-LGBTQ activity, we have to respond and use our existing laws to stop them from doing something illegal,” he said.
The Toledo City Council banned conversion therapy in 2017.
Business owners also vowed that the House of Prayer won’t change the vibe of the Adams Street district in Downtown Toledo.
The area is known as a hip, creative and progressive space in the city. It’s home to craft beers and pour-over coffee, an art house pub and art galleries, locally made gifts and live, local music.
Georgjz 419, another gay bar, is on Adams Street, as is the iconic “Toledo Loves Love” mural, which has spawned its own festival to support Equality Toledo.
The Village on Adams, a group of the area’s business owners, issued a statement saying the district is committed to maintaining its welcoming culture.
“The Village on Adams wants to ensure our shop, bar and restaurant patrons that the street will remain a safe place and continue to support equality for everyone, no matter what,” it said. “Adams Street is a place for love, understanding, support and celebration. We stand with the LGBT community and will strive to continue the actions of Bretz and LGBT-owned businesses on Adams and around our city. Toledo Loves Love.”