Ten of the Worst LGBT Bashing Stories from the U.S. and U.K.
While same-sex marriage might be legal, it’s still not a crime to discriminate same-sex couples. LGBT community members are free to marry but are barred from getting service from bakeries to bridal shops. Across the U.S. and abroad, hotels, wedding venues and restaurants all too often get away with refusing service to customers claiming it’s their religious freedom to do so. Here’s a list of the worst and most sickening stories of discrimination.
Ten: Kissing Wasn’t Kosher at this U.K. Supermarket
Annabelle Paige, a 22-year-old student at the University of Sussex, said she gave her girlfriend a light kiss and then a security guard came over to say they could either stop showing signs of affection or be thrown out.
Angry shoppers are taking a stand after a UK supermarket told a lesbian couple to stop kissing on Coming Out Day.
Sainsbury’s apologized to the young couple after a security guard told them to stop being affectionate following a customer complaint.
The Brighton branch store denies the couple were asked to leave.
Annabelle Paige, a 22-year-old student at the University of Sussex, said she gave her girlfriend a light kiss and then a security guard came over to say they could either stop showing signs of affection or be thrown out.
‘To be honest, I thought she was joking. I’ve never experienced something like that and at the same time as we were in the store there were heterosexual couples being as affectionate, if not more so,’ she told The Times.
‘I’m so shocked and upset about it. I get that if another customer is uncomfortable that’s a bad thing … but the problem is the other customer was in the wrong and essentially being homophobic.
‘The guard didn’t seem to understand that, I was absolutely humiliated.’
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said the security guard is employed by a third party.
They said: ‘This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.
‘We have called Miss Paige to apologise and will be making a donation to a charity of her choice.’
*Source: Gay Star News
Nine: No Kissing in Cabs in Houston”
This really cute couple was kicked out of a cab and left at the curb. Why? Because they were kissing.
HOUSTON — A same-sex couple claims they were kicked out of a cab for kissing. When we reached out to Yellow Cab, it gave us a surprising response to the complaint.
Travis Player and his partner, Andres Orozco, were dropped off Several blocks from their home in the Museum District recently.
“We thought he was joking until he actually pulled over,” Player said.
A cab ride home from F Bar took the fun out of Sunday Funday for them.
“We gave each other a kiss and he told us to get out of the car,” Player said.
The couple says a Yellow Cab driver kicked them out of his cab after the two started kissing, keeping it PG, in the back seat.
“The man just turns back to us and tells us that he doesn’t give gay people rides,” Orozco said. “And he proceeds to tell us we’re going to hell for being gay.”
In response to our questions, Yellow Cab sent us a statement:
“Yellow Cab immediately investigated this allegation of discrimination, including talking to the independent contractor driver. the driver stated that he would have taken the same actions if it was a man and a woman in the taxicab. Evidently, the driver was overly sensitive to passengers kissing. Yellow Cab does not have a policy about passengers showing affection in taxicabs. in fact, we encourage kissing in our taxicabs.”
“The sad reality is that it is completely legal,” said GLBT community advocate Noel Freeman.
Freeman says in the last six months, he’s heard 4 other similar stories: gay couples getting kicked out of Yellow Cab taxis, for being affectionate.
“There are no laws in the state of Texas that protect people from discrimination in public accommodations like cabs. So someone can be kicked out of a cab because they’re gay, black, because they’re a woman,” Freeman said.
This couple didn’t pay the $6 cab fare and expect nothing from Yellow Cab, but say the company won’t be getting their business in the future.
“We were expressing our love for each other and for someone else to jump in and clearly state it’s not right, that really did upset me,” Orozco said.
Houston passed an equal rights ordinance that could have protected Player and Orozco, but it’s been challenged so right now the ordinance can’t be enforced. It goes to trial in January.
*Source: ABC News
Eight: It’s Still Legal to Discriminate
The Inne of Abingtons outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania are refusing to hold same-sex ceremonies at their venue.
The Inne of the Abingtons, located just north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, boasts on its website that it has been voted “best wedding reception venue” and “best outdoor ceremony location,” but only different-sex couples currently have the opportunity to see if the commendations are warranted. Though Pennsylvania now allows for same-sex marriage, the venue refuses to allow same-sex couples to hold their weddings or receptions there — and such discrimination is perfectly legal in Pennsylvania.
Desiree Mark was thrilled to not have to travel to another state to marry her partner, but was disappointed when her inquiry to the Inne prompted a response refusing her patronage. The email, which has been shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times, informed the couple, “Unfortunately, we do not hold same sex marriages at our facility.” The email did not provide an explanation as to why, but did express hope that the couple might find “somewhere that will fulfill all your wedding dreams.”
The Inne has made no public comment on the matter, but WNEP did report that the owner believes the negative feedback has been “blown out of proportion.” Some are now calling for a boycott of the wedding venue.
In Pennsylvania, the Inne’s discrimination is perfectly legal. When the commonwealth became the 19th marriage equality state earlier this year, it also became the first state to offer same-sex marriage but absolutely no nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to fire, refuse housing, and deny service to individuals just because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Last year, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced a sweeping bill that would have established these protections, but it has yet to advance. As Equality Pennsylvania Executive Director Ted Martin forebodingly explained to ThinkProgress at the time, the bill has been a bigger priority than marriage because nothing would protect same-sex couples after they take the visible step of marrying:
MARTIN: Let’s say Pennsylvania passes marriage equality but not these other protections. On Saturday, I could get hitched. But on Saturday night, I could be denied service at the hotel because there aren’t public accommodations protections. On Tuesday, I could put a picture from the wedding on my desk at work and get fired because there aren’t employment protections. On Wednesday, my landlord could see me helping my husband move in and kick us out of our home because there aren’t housing protections. On Thursday, I’m living in a refrigerator box under a bridge.
The Pennsylvania conflict reflects conversations happening at the national level that are specifically about creating employment protections for LGBT. Many conservatives are calling for exemptions that would allow religious beliefs to justify continuing discrimination against people for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some groups are merely asking for exemptions for religious organizations, but there are other groups for whom the exemptions could then be expanded. The Hobby Lobby decision suggests any private company might have grounds to use religious beliefs for anti-LGBT discrimination, and Republicans in Congress have actually suggested legislation that would allow any individual to refuse to recognize a same-sex couple’s legal marriage.
Pennsylvania’s progress as a marriage equality state is helping to shine a light on the discrimination LGBT people still experience across the country.
*Source: Think Progress Zack Ford
Seven: Breaking “God’s Law”
In Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania a lesbian couple was turned down from this bridal shop because the owners didn’t want to “break God’s law.”
A Christian bridal shop owner in Pennsylvania had a message for a pair of blushing brides-to-be: We don’t serve lesbians.
The unidentified couple tried to schedule an appointment at W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, only to be told by an employee that the owner currently “[does] not service same-sex couples.”
“We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” owner Victoria Miller told The Press Enterprise. And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”
The rejected women turned to Facebook, where a post about the store’s behavior soon went viral.
Online listings for the boutique were soon flooded with one-star reviews.
“Jesus made everyone feel welcome, shame you are not a follower of Christ,” one man commented.
Residents of the neighborhood were also incensed.
“It’s definitely ignorant,” Bloomsburg resident Susan Welliver told PAHomepage. “I wouldn’t tell my kids to shop there.”
The Bloomsburg Town Council is planning to hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the incident. Council members are debating whether to propose legislation that will ban businesses from refusing to serve LGBT customers.
In the meantime, Miller isn’t budging. She’s hired an attorney to help defend her in case a lawsuit is filed.
Her lawyer Al Luschas says his client has a “liberty interest” in refusing to be involved in a wedding that violates her “firmly and honestly held religious beliefs.”
Miller has plenty of supporters, as well.
“God commands us to love the sinner but hate the sin,” said one reviewer on Yelp. “That means you don’t do things to promote the sinful acts.”
Pennsylvania became the last Northeastern state to strike down its ban on same-sex marriages in May. The state’s Governor Tom Corbett has said that he will not appeal the decision.
*Source: New York Daily News Carol KuruvillaWith News Wire Services
Six: The Man Who Yelled “Go Home Homos”
Oscar del las Salas and Gary Jackson were in the middle of their ceremony when a man yelled slurs from a balcony. While their wedding day was ruined, the mayor of Coronado offered them a re-do of their wedding day later, showing her support.
A San Diego wedding turned ugly when a homophobic heckler started shouting slurs at the gay couple.
Oscar de las Salas and Gary Jackson, both from Arizona, decided to have their ceremony at Coronado’s Centennial Park last month, according to ABC 15. But they did not expect to have an uninvited guest slinging slurs at them after they took their positions in a grassy spot near the water just after sunset.
As the music died down, a cruel troublemaker on the balcony of a nearby pricey condo complex started shouting, “homos!” and “go home homos!”
Immediately, during what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, de las Salas’ thoughts turned dark.
“It was a moment of fear,” said de las Salas. “I’m thinking, ‘God forbid this person has a gun and decides to open fire.’”
De las Salas, who said he was bullied as a child, added that all 30 guests stopped and turned during the wedding vows as the hateful words kept pouring out.
“(The heckler) really wanted to humiliate the people there,” said wedding musician David de Alva. “He said, ‘go home f***.’”
De Alva said whenever they looked up toward the condo, they couldn’t see anyone on the balconies. But the terrible words kept coming, forcing Jackson to turn toward the yelling at one point, a moment captured in a photo.
“It’s just sad that that is now ingrained for the rest of our lives in our wedding day,” said Jackson. “That person took a chunk of what should have been a beautiful day and turned it into something nasty and full of hate.”
The couple said they filed a police report and are hoping authorities find the person or people involved in the incident. They also wrote letters to the city of Coronado and the condo homeowner’s association, and received apologetic messages.
Meanwhile, the couple continue to question, weeks after their union, why a sick stranger would ruin their happy day.
“Why did you do it?” asked de las Salas. “Why did you have to destroy a moment of happiness?”
*Source: New York Daily News Corinne Lestch
Five: The UK Hotel Owners Who Denied Gay Couple a Room
The Christian hotel-owners of a Cornwall hotel say that they also refuse rooms to non-married heterosexuals. They took their case to the Supreme Court.
The Christian owners of a guesthouse who refused to allow a gay couple to stay in a double-bedded room have said they want to avoid a “collision” between two different lifestyles as they prepare to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have put the Chymorvah Hotel in Marazion, Cornwall, up for sale following the controversy and have reportedly been the victims of vandalism and death threats.
The couple had to pay £3,600 in damages to civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, from Bristol, after they were refused a double room at the hotel on religious grounds in September 2008.
The Bulls regard any sex outside marriage as a “sin” but deny either direct or indirect discrimination.
They will take their case to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land – tomorrow after their original appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Speaking to ITV’s Daybreak, Mrs Bull said: “We’re hoping that in some way or another a pathway will be found through this so that two different lifestyles – which at the moment have had a head-on collision – could live together in our society.”
The couple, who say they also refuse double beds to non-married heterosexual couples, have argued that their policy is in accordance with their religious beliefs and was not directed to sexual orientation, but sexual practice.
The Bulls say they have been forced to put the nine-bedroom property on the market after a decline in business meant they could not afford the mortgage payments.
Mrs Bull said she found the long-running dispute “thoroughly regretful”.
“We’re running this under our own roof and our God demands that our faith doesn’t end at the kitchen door,” she said.
“He means your faith to run in every corner of your life, you can’t just section Him off like that.
“One would think that dealing with Christians, we would be fair and honest and upright and honourable and live according to the Bible, because the Bible is the Christians’ textbook.”
*Source: The Independent David Mercer PA
Four: The Pizzeria That Closed After Anti-Gay Controversy and Then Reopens After Receiving Donations
A pizzeria owner refused to cater to a gay wedding, closes down for eight days after he and his daughter make controversial comments to the media and then receives $842,000 in crowdfunding support then reopens for business to a packed house. Wait, what? The owner says gays are welcome at his pizzeria but that he just can’t do weddings because of his religious beliefs. Hmmm…
WALKERTON, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana pizzeria that closed after its owner said his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to cater a gay wedding opened Thursday to a full house of friends, regulars and people wanting to show their support.
“It’s a relief to get going again and try to get back to normal,” said Kevin O’Connor, owner of Memories Pizza.
O’Connor closed the shop for eight days after comments by him and his daughter, Crystal, to a local television station supporting a new religious objections law. The law, which has since been revised, sparked a boycott of Indiana.
O’Connor said the criticism hasn’t changed his beliefs. He said gays are welcome in his restaurant in the small, one-traffic-light town of Walkerton, 20 miles southwest of South Bend, but that he would decline to cater a same-sex wedding because it would conflict with his Christian beliefs.
“I’d do the same thing again. It’s my belief. It’s our belief. It’s what we grew up on,” he said. “I’m just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I don’t hold any grudges.”
A crowdfunding campaign started by supporters raised more than $842,000 with donations from 29,160 contributors in 48 hours. O’Connor said he hasn’t received the money yet, but said he plans to give some to charity and use some money to make improvements to the restaurant.
The 61-year-old father of eight who has owned the restaurant for nine years said he never thought about taking the money and retiring.
“I enjoy it. I don’t want to leave here,” he said. “I want this to be something that my daughter can enjoy.”
Crystal O’Connor said the amount of money was overwhelming.
“We were like, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!'” she said.
“It was really making us uncomfortable,” her father said.
The restaurant reopened about 4 p.m. Thursday. He says that within an hour, all eight tables were filled and six people were waiting for carryout orders. There were no protests as of 7 p.m.
Jeanne and Ken Gumm from outside LaPorte, about 20 miles northwest of Walkerton, said they had been waiting for the pizzeria to reopen so they could show their support.
“We couldn’t wait to get down here,” said Ken Gumm, 66, a tank truck driver. “To us this whole thing isn’t about gay marriage. It’s mostly about freedom of religion.”
*Source: Huffington Post Tome Coyne AP
Three: The Woman Who Calls Herself a Friend
This florist in Washington refused to make floral arrangements for a gay customer she calls a friend. The man then sues her while she claims it’s her right to exercise her freedoms and deny him service because of her relationship with Christ.
I’ve been a florist in Richmond, Wash., for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve developed close relationships with many of my clients.
One of my favorites was Rob Ingersoll. Ingersoll came in often and we’d talk. Like me, he had an artistic eye. I’d try to create really special arrangements for him. I knew he was gay, but it didn’t matter — I enjoyed his company and his creativity.
Then he asked me to create the floral arrangements for his wedding. I love Rob, and I’d always been happy to design for his special days. But there’s something different about a wedding.
Every person in the creative professions regularly has to make decisions about where they lend their artistic talents and which events they will participate in. For me, it’s never about the person who walks into the shop, but about the message I’m communicating when someone asks me to “say it with flowers.”
I was raised Christian. In my religious tradition, marriage is a sacred religious ceremony between a man, a woman and Christ. It’s a covenant with the church. To participate in a wedding that violates those principles violates the core of my faith.
When Rob asked me, I thought about it carefully. I talked over the decision with my husband, and I prayed. But ultimately I know I had to stay true to my faith. I couldn’t do it.
When I told Rob, I felt terrible that I couldn’t share this day with him, as I’d shared so many with him before. I took his hands and said, “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Rob said he understood, and that he hoped his mom would walk him down the aisle, but he wasn’t sure. We talked about how he got engaged and why they decided to get married after all these years. He asked me for the names of other flower shops. I gave him the names of three floral artists that I knew would do a good job, because I knew he would want something very special. We hugged and he left.
I never imagined what would happen next. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued me after hearing in the media what had happened. That was shocking. Even more surprising, Rob and his partner Curt, with their ACLU attorneys, filed suit shortly thereafter. A judge ruled against me, but this week, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, I appealed.
We’ve always heard that same-sex marriage would never affect anyone aside from the same-sex couples who wanted to be married. But a judge recently told me that my freedom to live and work according to my beliefs about marriage expired the day same-sex marriage became the law in my state.
Our government is supposed to protect our First Amendment rights — freedom of religion and expression. But the government is telling me I can only be a faithful Christian within the four walls of my church. That’s impossible and it’s unjust. What would Rob and Curt say if the government told them they could only be who they are in their own homes?
This isn’t about bigotry. I’ve had gay and lesbian employees and friends. And it’s important to remember that Rob was a long-time customer and friend despite our different beliefs about marriage. When I had to refer him for this one event, I did everything I could to avoid hurting his feelings and I believed we would remain friends when he left the shop. He got enough offers after this situation became public to do about 20 weddings.
In Washington, Rob and Curt have the right to get a marriage license. But that doesn’t mean that the state should be able to force people in the creative professions like myself to create expression celebrating the ceremonies. We all have different viewpoints about how to live our lives. One thing I’ve loved about our country is that we protect the freedom of artistic expression and the right to disagree over these kinds of issues without one side being threatened by the government over it.
But whatever the state says and however they want to try to punish me, they can’t change my faith. What happens in my business or my life is in God’s hands. Having a clear conscience means much more to me than any amount of money or my business. Rob and Curt have their beliefs about marriage and aren’t being stopped by the state from living them out. I only ask for the same freedom.
Two: The Inappropriate and Downright Crazy California Dry Cleaners
Rosali Dry Cleaners in California are the least LGBT friendly cleaners we’ve ever heard of. When forty-eight year old, Byron Batista took his leather pillow to have it cleaned, it was returned to him with a tear. When the cleaners refused to refund him for the damages, the two argued and the owner of the cleaners began yelling obscenities at Batista. “She started saying, ‘Fuck you, fuck you, fag,'” Batista said. “That’s when she took her middle finger and mimicked putting it up her butt.”
A California man is still fighting to be compensated by a local dry cleaner that he says has repeatedly used homophobic slurs and abusive language — quoted below — in its refusal to pay for his damaged throw pillow.
Byron Batista, 48, told The Huffington Post he went to North Hollywood’s Rosali Cleaners last January to have the pillows cleaned. When he returned to pick them up, Batista noticed one of them had been badly torn.
The owner, who called herself Rosali, refused to give the man a refund for the tear. As the two began arguing, the owner of the store allegedly began screaming obscenities and slurs at him.
“She started saying, ‘Fuck you, fuck you, fag,'” Batista said. “That’s when she took her middle finger and mimicked putting it up her butt.”
The cleaning service refused to refund the man, who said he took the matter to court not for the money — a measly $75, which he won — but because he didn’t want a homophobe to win.
Despite winning the case, Batista said he was shocked to learn Rosali Cleaners still held a grudge. A check provided to Batista shows the money made out to Byron “the buggerer” Batista. Batista immediately took the check back to the judge.
“The judge was just like, ‘Oh, this is sad,'” Batista said.
The cleaning service was ordered to make out a new money order to Batista. When he attempted to bring the money order to his bank, he was met with a similar problem. He said the woman had written in all caps next to his name: “SODOMITE.”
“I took it to the bank and the teller went, ‘Oh, my God!’” Batista said. “She sat down and wrote a letter to the judge saying they can’t accept money orders with foul language on them.”
Batista said he must now ask the judge again for help. In the meantime, he said he wants to get his story out to the public so no one has to deal with the bigoted cleaners. After one publication shared his story, negative Yelp reviews began pouring in.
Batista said the cleaning service specializes in leather.
“You’d think a place that cleans leather would expect to deal with some gay people,” he said. “I don’t want anybody spending their money there.”
Multiple phone calls by HuffPost to Rosali Cleaners went unanswered.
“I don’t mind being targeted,” Batista said. “I want the community to know that if they want leather cleaned, this is not the place to go.”
*Source: Huffington Post Sebastian Murdock
One: The California Lawyer Who Proposed that Gays and Lesbians Be Killed
This is hard to wrap words around but yes, it’s true. A California lawyer wanted to propose the “Sodomite Suppression Act” and according to NPR called sodomy “a monstrous evil” that should be punishable “by bullets to the head or any other convenient method.”
California’s system of direct democracy — the voter initiative process — has produced landmark laws reducing property taxes, banning affirmative action and legalizing medical marijuana.
Now there’s a bid to declare that “the people of California wisely command” that gays and lesbians can be killed.
You read that right.
The “Sodomite Suppression Act,” as proposed, calls sodomy “a monstrous evil” that should be punishable “by bullets to the head or any other convenient method.”
The act would punish anyone who distributes “sodomistic propaganda” to minors with a $1 million fine, and/or up to 10 years in prison, and/or the possibility of a lifetime expulsion from California.
The proposal comes from a Huntington Beach-based attorney, Matt McLaughlin. He did not return calls for comment, and his voice mailbox is full.
Now maybe you’re thinking there’s no way such a blatantly illegal measure would ever be approved by California voters.
But here’s the rub: We might get a chance to find out, because it appears that there’s no legal way for state officials to stop the author of this proposal from collecting enough voter signatures to put it on the ballot.
Legal experts are left shaking their heads.
Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Davis, said he is almost reluctant to even get drawn into the discussion “to give this guy the attention he wants.”
Still, Amar noted there are at least two big issues at stake.
One, given that it costs only $200 to submit an initiative and start the signature-gathering process in California, perhaps the fee should be higher to discourage people from abusing the process. (On the other hand, that could make it prohibitive for legitimate grass-roots petitions to gain traction without well-off backers.)
Two, some advocate that the state attorney general, the official whose job duties include writing a title and summary for any proposed initiative, should have the authority to kill a proposal that would conflict with superseding law — like murder. (Of course, then elected partisan officials with their own political agendas would be the filters.)
But both of those ideas raise their own problems, Amar said.
“Anyone who has 200 bucks for an initiative, probably can raise 2,000 bucks,” he said. “But raise it to something meaningful like [10,000] or 20,000 bucks, then you’re sending a message about the accessibility of direct democracy.”
Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, favors raising the fee, even though she said, “It won’t stop people from submitting crazy ideas.”
Like Amar, Alexander does not favor the idea of allowing an elected official, in this case Attorney General Kamala Harris, to block the measure outright by calling it illegal.
The initiative process “needs to be kept at arm’s length from the Legislature and the politicians who frequently want to usurp its power,” Alexander said.
The initiative’s author has provoked discussion and controversy. In fact, there have been calls for McLaughlin to be disbarred for advocating murder.
But, in the end, Amar doubts his idea will ever get enough voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. It’s estimated that a ballot-initiative campaign in California costs about $1 million to collect the 365,888 signatures to qualify.
It will take several million dollars more to get enough signatures for such a controversial idea, Amar contends.
“But if I get approached by someone asking me to sign this thing,” Amar said, “that will spoil my day having to think about this guy.”
*Source: NPR Richard Gonzales