Ave Maria town center, with 1,100-seat church at center. Photo from Ave Maria Development
When we last checked in on Ave Maria, the Florida development dreamed up by Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, developers were backing down from early word that the town’s laws would reflect its founder’s moral edicts – such as making contraceptives and pornography unavailable.
“I’m not going to break the law,” Monaghan told [The New Yorker]. “We want to be a family town. But if there’s an openly gay couple living next door to some family, and those kids would have to be subjected to that, I don’t know. In the first place, I don’t know how many gay couples are going to want to come live in the town. And if we can’t prevent it, well, we’ll tolerate it.”
The AP caught up with Monaghan, who wistfully recalled the vision he held before U.S. laws intruded:
Monaghan now says that Ave Maria University, the school he is also bankrolling, will follow strict Catholic guidelines, but the town will be largely allowed to grow uninhibited — except for no adult novelty stores or topless clubs. The developers say they will merely suggest that merchants not sell contraceptives or porn, and cable TV offerings will not be restricted.
Even with that, Monaghan seems disappointed. If he had his way, Ave Maria would be God’s town.
“I thought we owned the real estate, so we can lease to whoever we want and put things in the contract, but there are laws and there were lawsuits out there,” Monaghan said.